The role of energy drinks in tooth damage :
Energy drinks are widely consumed all over America, with teenagers as well as young adults as their chief consumers. In fact, it reaches to half of the total young adult and teen population drink these energy drinks. Over half of this demographic also drinks a minimum of one sports drink every day. There is a general false belief that energy drinks damage teeth to a much smaller degree than the amount by which soda beverages does so.
Debunking the myth :
A recent study conducted by Poonam Jain, an associate professor who teaches at Southern Illinois University’s Dental School and heads community dentistry there. He has disproven this myth by showing explicitly, just how harmful energy drinks are for oral health and the exact mechanism by which they damage teeth. It was found that energy drinks cause harm to the tooth enamel by thinning it or causing it erode, which exposes the affected teeth to sensitivity and decay.
Details of the research :
Jain and her team carried out an extensive study of energy and sports drinks that are household names to full understand their action on teeth. The acid content of the beverages is directly related to the amount by which they damage teeth. After testing the acidity of 22 such beverages, they picked out six to serve as their candidates – three sports, and three energy drinks. The researchers simulated the human mouth in their lab by using samples of enamel taken from human teeth, and putting them in the drinks for a quarter of an hour after which they were transferred into artificial spittle for 2 hours. They repeated this cycle 4 times each day for a period of five days, replacing the beverages daily as the research progressed. It was conspicuously evident that significant loss (1.5% in the case of sports drinks and 3% in the case of energy drinks) had occurred to the enamel at the end of the five day test period.
The other side of the coin:
The American Beverage Association was adamant that the research conducted by Jain did not reflect real life consumption of energy drinks and the results it obtained were due to overexposure to the beverages. They claim that singling out energy drinks was irresponsible of the researchers since tooth damage can occur just as much due to other factors such as lifestyle choices, hygiene, general diet and genetic reasons.
Recommendations to avoid tooth damage:
- To avoid the tooth damage from energy drinks, you should try to either abstain from them or, if that isn’t manageable, keep their consumption to a bare minimum.
- You should wash your mouth with water thoroughly after drinking them.
- Diluting the energy drinks could also decrease their acidity.
- After drinking an energy drink, wait for at least half an hour before brushing your teeth so as to avoid the acidity from spreading in the mouth.
Whatever the ABA may say, the research has made it apparent that energy drinks do cause damage, even if the figures in the research were deviating from real life. Although many consume these drinks on occasion and do not risk to damage teeth, there are still many people in the world who thrive on these products and it is these people whose teeth energy drinks damage the most.
This blog post is an educational resource only and does not replace a medical consultation with a doctor .
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