You’ve probably heard about how bad soda pop and even fruit juice can be for your teeth because of all the sugar, but what about energy drinks? Turns out it’s just as bad if not worse.
Energy drinks tend to be loaded with citric acid. It enhances flavor and shelf life. The bad news is it also strips away the enamel from your teeth. Ouch!
A study published in General Dentistry found that energy drinks removed enamel from teeth samples in a petri dish. The damage was a lot more extensive than what sports drinks did.
Why Energy Drinks Are Becoming an Epidemic
And dentists are seeing the results in the teeth of teens and adults who guzzle these drinks like coffee.
“We are well aware of the damage that sugar does in the mouth and in the whole body — the role it can play in obesity, diabetes, etc,” Poonam Jain, an associate professor in the School of Dental Medicine at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and the lead author of the study. “But the average consumer is not very well aware that acid does all kinds of damage, too.”
About 30 to 50% of teens consume energy drinks, and 62% consume at least one energy drink per day, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
“Teens regularly come into my office with these types of symptoms, but they don’t know why,” said Dr. Jennifer Bone, an AGD spokesperson. “We review their diet and snacking habits, and then we discuss their consumption of these beverages. They don’t realize that something as seemingly harmless as a sports or energy drinks can do a lot of damage to their teeth.”
The Bottom Line
Limit your consumption of energy drinks, especially in teens. And if you do consume energy drinks, be sure to rinse with water afterwards to remove the citric acid as best as possible.
But here’s the thing — don’t brush immediately afterwards. Wait at least an hour. Brushing following an energy drink can cause the citric acid to spread, which can further exacerbate the damage.
It’s also a good idea to chew sugar-free gum, with an emphasis on sugar-free. This can increase the saliva in your mouth which helps clean your teeth, remove citric acid and prevent cavities. Chewing sugar-free gum, by the way, is excellent for your dental health regardless of energy drinks. We always encourage our Cincinnati dental patients to chew healthy gum to promote dental health.