If you are looking for an extra boost to promote your mental alertness, energy, and physical performance, then you might have had energy drinks.
But do you know that energy drinks can be harmful to your teeth and other effects on your overall body?
Energy drinks are beverages that give you more energy.
They contain ingredients like taurine, ginseng, and sugar along with stimulants to support your energy levels and mental focus.
Interestingly, these are classified as dietary supplements and are not regulated very closely.
However, the one ingredient that energy drinks contain is caffeine, a stimulant that makes you feel more energy.
These drinks have an excessive amount of caffeine, ranging from 50 to 505 milligrams per serving.
If you want to understand it more clearly, consider the following example:
A standard cup of coffee contains approx 100 mg of caffeine, a cup of black tea contains 30 mg while a can of regular soda contains 34 mg.
Moreover, these drinks come in a variety of flavors ranging from sugar-free to B-vitamins boost, thus you have no shortage of choices.
Let’s now move towards what risks these energy drinks can have on your body.
What is in the Can?
Energy drinks contain caffeine. Accroding to doctors and physicians, they not only contains high amounts of sugar and caffeine but also other additives and supplements.
These large amounts of sugar alone are responsible for a spike in blood sugar levels, however, when the initial energy burns off, there is a release of a number of hormones in your body.
Moreover, high amounts of caffeine cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, while other ingredients are responsible for irregular heartbeat, aneurysms, and unexpected heart attacks.
Thus, The World Health Organization, WHO warns that energy drinks “may pose danger to public health”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against children consuming them.
The Risk of Energy Drinks Ingredients
While many of the ingredients present in energy drinks come from a natural source and can sound healthy, however, making them a part of your regular routine comes with a risk.
In fact, according to stats, the number of visits to the emergency, related to energy drinks doubled climbing from 10,000 to 20,73 cases.
Moreover, in 2011, 1 in 10 of these visits resulted in emergency hospitalization.
Drinking energy drinks tend to have certain potential effects on your overall health as well as your teeth and you should be aware of them before you open another can.
Learn more about the effects of soft drinks on your teeth.
Effects of Energy Drinks
The following are the effects of energy drinks on your overall health:
Caffeine Intoxication: When you consume excess caffeine, then it can result in acute caffeine intoxication, which leads to vomiting, seizures, an increase in heartbeat, and more.
Moreover, the chances of the above increase with increase intake of energy drinks.
Heart Trouble: For regular energy drink consumers, irregular heartbeat is very common.
This is because of high amounts of stimulants that make your heart beat faster.
Trouble Sleeping: High levels of caffeine and other stimulants can make falling asleep difficult.
This leads to more consumption the next day.
Infertility in Men: High consumption of energy drinks can cause infertility in men and thus make it more difficult to conceive, according to studies.
Increase Blood Sugar Levels: Energy drinks contain a certain amount of sugar, thus, people with diabetes should look out before consuming them.
Damage to Tooth Enamel: Due to high acidity levels in these energy drinks, they can damage tooth enamel.
Learn more about the effects of diabetes on your teeth.
Now, let’s move to how energy drinks are ruining your teeth.
How Energy Drinks Ruin your Teeth?
Energy drinks not only contain added sugar but are also acidic in nature.
Acidic drinks can aid the already present bacteria in your mouth. When you drink energy drinks more frequently, the more the acidity increases in your mouth and more this acid attacks the teeth enamel.
This frequent acid attack thus causes damage to the tooth enamel, which is the outer and protective layer of your teeth.
If you do not take care of your oral and dental hygiene, then it can erode the enamel, thus damaging the dentin.
What does the Research Say?
According to a study in Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicines, the acidity found in energy drinks is 2 times higher than in sports drinks.
They studied 22 beverages and looked at what effect that 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks had on tooth enamel.
They add, that the lower the pH, the greater is the potential of losing enamel from the teeth.
Enamel is the hardest part of the body of a human, even harder than bone.
However, when you consume highly acidic drinks, they dissolve the enamel. How?
Salvia present in your mouth has roughly a pH of 6. to 7 which is neutral. When you take a single sip of energy drinks, your saliva’s pH goes down to 2 on the pH scale.
However, when you drink the whole bottle, or can, imagine what it can do to the pH levels and the amount of acidity in your mouth.
However, the American Beverage Association argues, that no single food or beverage can cause enamel loss and tooth decay.
Other factors like dental hygiene, lifestyle, and total diet contribute to it.
Sugar and Acidity Content in Energy Drinks
Energy drinks contain an excessive amount of sugar and caffeine. And they also represent the highest level of health and teeth risks, especially for young people.
Labeled as ‘an acid mouthwash’ these drinks contains almost 4 to 8 tsp of sugar per 250 ml or 1 cup.
The bacteria present in your mouth convert sugar into acid and this acid damages the enamel.
Moreover, a high intake of sugar and acid accelerates the onset of cavities for consumers.
With changing eating habits, many young people do not take milk which is a high source of calcium. It not only builds and makes your bones strong but also your teeth.
When consuming high amounts of sugar, these drinks erode the tooth enamel, thus increasing the chances of tooth decay.
What do the Dentist Recommend?
Dentists all around the world are the proof bearers of the harmful side effects of energy drinks on your teeth.
According to many, the leading cause of tooth decay in children is juice and in adults is energy drinks.
Moreover, energy drinks with a pH of 3.2 or so are almost as acidic as a battery acid that has a pH of 1.
This acid fosters the growth of bacteria and the higher the concentrations, the more likely your chance to get both tooth and gum diseases.
In some cases, however, it can cause teeth grinding and can lead to tooth breakage and tooth loss.
Thus, these energy drinks can also cause more acid reflux production and leads to more cavities.
What is Dental Erosion?
Erosion is due to the action of food or stomach acids on the enamel of teeth. Enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth when exposed to different chemicals from foods and beverages.
As a result, it wears and tears. It can cause tooth stains and sensitivity as well.
The process of a tooth or dental erosion is irreversible, however, you can prevent it from getting worse with different dental treatments and by taking care of your oral health.
If you do not get treatment of dental erosion it can cause complications like:
- yellow or stained teeth
- shiny spots
- increase in tooth decay
- overly sensitive teeth
- rough edges on your teeth
- gradual wearing and tearing of outer layer of teeth, i.e. enamel
- teeth fractures
Preventing Dental Erosion
Avoid frequent use of acidic beverages, or consider taking them with a staw to prevent the acidic liquid to touch the surface of your teeth.
Moreover, try substituting them with healthier alternatives like smoothies, green juices, protein shakes, etc.
Take acidic drinks at the end of the meal, this allows your saliva to restore the natural balance in the mouth and remineralize it.
Avoid eating acidic foods especially before bedtimes, as the production of salvia decrease before it.
Try consuming fresh citrus fruits rather than juices as chewing stimulates saliva production.
Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic drinks so that the saliva in your mouth can protect tooth enamel.
Dentists all around the world agree that excess consumption of energy drinks can cause drastic effects and damage to your teeth.
The best thing you can do to prevent this damage is to avoid using them at all costs. However, if that feels too difficult, you can gradually cut down the number of energy drinks consumptions.
Moreover, visit your dentist regularly, at least twice a year, as they will be able to see the first signs of dental erosion and damage, thus, making appointments with your dentist can help prevent the irreversible damage to the enamel of your teeth.