A recent study found that an increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among teenagers and young adults, is the cause of irreversible damage to teeth. The high acidity levels in the drinks erode the glossy outer layer or enamel of the teeth.
Many young adults consume these drinks to increase sports performance and energy levels thinking that they are better than soda. But what they don't realize is that these drinks are bathing their teeth in acid.
As many as 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consume energy drinks and as many as 62 percent consume at least one sports drink per day. While both type of drinks are potentially harmful to teeth, the research shows that energy drinks cause twice as much damage as sports drinks.
The damage caused to enamel is not repairable and without enamel the teeth become overly sensitive and prone to cavities. As dental professionals we often see these problems with teens and we realize the problem after reviewing their diet and snacking habits. It is important to educate parents and teens so that they can make informed choices.
While these seemingly harmless drinks can cause permanent damage to teeth, there are some ways to reduce the risk to your teeth. First of all, minimize your intake of sports and energy drinks. If you do consume them, chew sugarless gum or rinse your mouth with water immediately following consumption. Both of these tactics increase saliva and help return normal acidity levels to the mouth.
Also, you should wait at least one hour to brush your teeth after consuming these drinks. Brushing too soon will spread the acid and increase the erosive action. As dental professionals, it is important educate parents and teens about the problems associated with consumption of these types of drinks. Read more here