Well, it’s that time again! The promise of a brand new year is upon us. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who have decided to exercise more in 2019, there’s a good chance you’re consuming more sports or energy drinks than usual. But you might be surprised at the link between energy drinks and oral health in Fairfax. In fact, if they’re consumed too frequently, they can put your teeth at serious risk for tooth decay (which requires major dental work to repair). But that doesn’t mean you can’t ever have them, it just means you need to take some precautions. Keep reading to learn why energy drinks are harmful and how you can reduce their negative impact on your teeth!
How Do Energy Drinks Affect Your Teeth?
In recent years, the consumption of sports drinks and energy drinks has risen exponentially, especially in teens and young adults. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry found that 62% of teens consume at least one sports drink a day.
While many people think that these drinks are healthy because they enhance their athletic performance, they can cause irreversible damage to the teeth (in addition to other consequences to overall health that researchers have discovered).
To understand the impact of these beverages on the teeth, it’s important to realize that they contain large amounts of phosphoric or carbonic acid. Each time you drink one, you’re basically giving your teeth an “acid bath.”
And even though your enamel is incredibly hard and tough, it isn’t indestructible! The same way that acid rain erodes marble and stone over time, the acids in carbonated beverages will soften and erode your enamel, eventually leading to cavities.
How Can You Minimize the Damage?
Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your teeth. These preventive measures mean you don’t have to give up sports and energy drinks completely, but it’s still a good idea to reduce the amount you consume overall.
Here are some tips for minimizing their negative effects:
- Get regular checkups – Checkups with a dentist in Fairfax aren’t only about getting a cleaning, although those are very important. They’re also a chance to have your teeth closely monitored so that any cavities or other issues can be caught early, when treatment is easier and less expensive.
- Chew sugar-free gum – Since it stimulates salivary flow, chewing sugar-free gum is a great on-the-go way to neutralize acids and prevent cavities.
- Swish with plain water – Rinsing a few times with plain water is another great way to wash away any acids in your mouth.
- Don’t brush right away – This may seem counterintuitive, but since your enamel is temporarily softened, brushing too soon can actually wear it away more easily. Wait about a half an hour instead, and either chew gum or swish with water in the meantime, as just mentioned.
- Use topical fluoride – Extra topical fluoride is a great way to add mineral back into your enamel to strengthen it and prevent cavities. In addition to the fluoride in your toothpaste, pick up a fluoride (also called anti-cavity) mouthwash at the store and use it twice a day after brushing and flossing.
Sports and energy drinks can do a real number on your teeth. But if you take these basic precautions, they don’t have to!
About the Author
Dr. Sanae Berrada is a general, cosmetic and restorative dentist in Fairfax who knows that preventing oral health problems is much easier than treating them. She always considers someone’s daily habits to see if they might be causing problems so she can educate her patients on minimizing the risks. If you have any other questions about your oral health, she can be reached via her website or at (703) 279-3400.