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Energy drinks have been in the news because of concerns about their impact on our health. But what about their impact on teeth?

Are Energy Drinks Bad for Teeth?

If you are keen on sports, you may well enjoy energy or sports drinks to rehydrate afterwards, but many people are surprised to learn that these kinds of beverages can damage teeth, even when they are marketed as being healthy.

The problem is that sports or energy drinks are often packed with sugars and can be extremely acidic. Each time you have one, your teeth are bathed in acid, causing acid erosion where tooth enamel becomes thinner because the acid removes some minerals from tooth enamel, softening it. While some of these minerals are redeposited back into tooth enamel as acidity in your mouth reduces, repeated exposure to these acids will cause the enamel to weaken and become thinner.

What Happens When Acids erode Tooth Enamel?

When tooth enamel thins, teeth can start to look stained and discoloured since more of the tooth’s natural colour in the dentin underneath will shine through. Tooth sensitivity can increase when the enamel is thinner, so a refreshing icy drink or a warm, comforting beverage can cause your teeth to twinge painfully. Acid erosion can be problematic if you consume sports drinks regularly. It may eventually erode the enamel to such an extent that you begin to develop tooth decay.

You may then wonder why acidic fruits like oranges are supposed to be good for health, especially as they are high in vitamin C, which helps protect oral health. The truth is that even foods and drinks that are good for you but which are acidic can still harm your teeth. However, the trick is to know what is more acidic and what isn’t and how to minimize the damage to your teeth.

Reducing Acid Erosion

If you like to consume energy drinks, try to ensure you keep their consumption to a minimum and drink them in one go rather than sipping on a sports drink slowly. When you consume anything acidic, it takes at least half an hour after you finish eating or drinking for your mouth to return to a more neutral pH. Sipping on an acidic beverage for a long period ensures your teeth are continually bathed in acid, so the damage to your enamel is worsened.

Ideally, it is better to stop drinking these sports drinks for your teeth and overall health. They all lack any nutrients and instead are packed with empty calories. Sugar-free versions tend to have acids added for flavour. The best beverage for rehydration is plain water, and even rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking anything sugary or acidic will help to neutralize the acids more quickly. However, if you want a flavoured drink, consider coconut water, especially after sports or exercise, as it contains electrolytes that help with rehydration.

Wait Before Brushing

Most people’s natural reaction after eating something they know isn’t great for their teeth is to want to brush them immediately afterwards. This is not a good idea because, at this point, your tooth enamel is still softer, so if you brush your teeth immediately, your toothbrush more easily damages the enamel. Wait at least half an hour before brushing so your mouth can return to a more neutral pH and tooth enamel has had a chance to re-harden.

As our regular patients know, Bel Canto Dental is a fluoride-free dental office because you can maintain a healthy mouth without this mineral. We can provide high-quality dental products to help protect your tooth enamel naturally. One such product is PrevDent toothpaste, which uses nano-hydroxyapatite technology to repair thinning tooth enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity caused by this problem. It also contains xylitol, which can help fight the bacteria that thrive on the sugars in energy drinks. For more insights about the health of your teeth, please book an appointment.

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