The high-caffeine, high-sugar beverages that some teens gulp like water are three to 10 times worse for your teeth than colas, according to a study published in dental journal General Dentistry.
A professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore Dental School soaked teeth in energy drinks, fitness water, sports drinks and other beverages for 14 days, measuring the decay. According to reports in General Dentistry and other trade publications, lemonade and energy drinks did the most damage to teeth.
The study examined the acidity levels of five popular beverages on the market. The results proved that popular “high energy” and sports drinks had the highest mean buffering capacity, resulting in the strongest potential for erosion of enamel.
The professor, Dr. Anthony von Fraunhofer, found that those drinks contain high levels of acids that can destroy tooth enamel.
Drink manufacturers put acid into beverages to balance the sweetness of the sugar. A can of Coke includes 10 teaspoons of sugar. Put that much sugar in a cup of coffee, and “you’d be gagging,” it would be so sweet. The acid makes it palatable.
A low pH level means high acidity, and a high level means the acidity is low. A pH below 4 is enough to dissolve teeth, and all the energy drinks tested at UAB had levels of 3.3 or lower. Some sports drinks, including Powerade and Gatorade, were even worse. Wine also scored poorly, with pHs in the 3s.
Tips To Save Your Teeth Enamel From Energy Drinks
- Use a straw positioned at the back of the mouth so that the liquid avoids
- Rinse the mouth with water after drinking acidic beverages
- Limit the intake of sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks
According to the study, the popularity of energy drinks is on the rise, especially among adolescents and young adults. Their permanent teeth are more susceptible to attack from the acids found in soft drinks, due to the porous quality of their immature tooth enamel. As a result, there is high potential for tooth erosion among this age demographic to increase.
Find out how to avoid tooth erosion.
By Academy of General Dentistry and Stan Diel.