While they may be tasty and offer a quick boost, energy drinks and soda are coming under increasing scrutiny from dental care officials who say these beverages are causing widespread harm to Americans' teeth, according to a report released in General Dentistry, the publishing arm of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
"Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better' for them than soda," Dr. Poonam Jain, one of the principal authors of the report, said in a press release published by the American Dental Association. "Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid."
The study centered around an experiment carried out by researchers to test the extended exposure of sugary drinks on teeth. Scientists placed enamel samples in solutions using nine kinds of energy drinks and 13 types of sport beverages, after which all the test samples were placed in cups of artificial saliva for several hours.
Results from the test showed that energy drinks caused roughly twice as much damage to the teeth samples than the sport solutions, though both experiments displayed extensive enamel damage after five days of testing.
The authors of the report also detailed ways to combat tooth erosion from sugary drinks, including rinsing mouths out with clean water to increase saliva output, which can help reduce damage. Contrary to the belief that brushing your teeth after having an energy or sport drink, the researchers stated that people should wait an hour for the sugars to break down, otherwise the toothbrush may actually spread the destructive sugars.
Teaching kids to moderate consumption of harmful drinks is a great way to promote good dental hygiene. Parents should also make routine appointments with a family dentist for check-ups and possible procedures that keep teeth healthy and strong.