It’s a familiar story to think about the millions of people who wake up every morning and grab their regular cup of coffee to keep them going. It’s the usual morning routine for millions of Americans today and has been for a long time now. But these days those coffee drinkers are moving more and more away from that delicious morning cup of coffee and reaching for something much more harmful.
Energy drinks are slowly but surely replacing coffee as the number one pick me up across America. Patients are even beginning to cite more and more that the reason they choose energy drinks as their morning drink is because they mistakenly believe that the energy will be better for them than coffee or soda. But this is leading to a troubling trend in dentistry. Increasing numbers of patients are starting to see dentists for what is jokingly referred to as “Mountain Dew Mouth.” Some consumers may not realize the detrimental affects that energy drinks have on oral health.
For one thing energy drinks can be highly acidic. They typically contain acid levels that are at a high pH level which is devastating to tooth enamel. And tooth enamel isn’t the only thing to worry about with pH imbalance. The bacteria that our mouths naturally harbor usually can coincide with us peacefully. But when the pH balance in the mouth is altered this can throw off these bacteria and cause them to grow at a much more rapid pace. Essentially, if you’re not careful, energy drinks can turn mouths into a breeding ground for bacteria.
There’s another good reason why energy drinks are destroying the teeth of many patients. Many people don’t consider the sugar involved in an energy drink when they reach for one in the morning, often much to the demise of the person’s enamel. Sugar feeds the bacteria in our mouths and they produce acids. Those acids erode our enamel and rot our teeth.
The constant consumption of energy drinks can also come with the risk of bone loss. A recent study published by Food Science and Human Nutrition, researcher L.K. Massey and S.J. Whiting found that increased levels of caffeine intake will increase the amount of calcium that is excreted through urine. With the loss of calcium in the body patients run the risk of a calcium deficit. Calcium is crucial for the formation and maintenance of the bones. The lower the levels of calcium in the body, the more likely a person is to suffer bone loss and bone weakening, which leaves a person vulnerable to fractures and breaks. This vulnerability is not just limited to the bones under our skin. Teeth are also made of the same materials as the rest of our bones and without calcium they are just as vulnerable to decay and loss as everywhere else.
Not as well known is the fact that energy drinks can often dehydrate a person. Caffeine is a natural diuretic which will dehydrate the body, and energy drinks are often filled to the brim with sodium which can drain the body of fluids. These two things combined cause the energy drinks to actually make a person more thirsty than to quench their thirst. Dehydration is serious news when it comes to oral health. Dehydration can affect the pH balance of the mouth and will increase tooth decay, gum disease, and halitosis.
Energy drinks may be quick and easy to drink on the way to work in the morning and may taste delicious, but they’re not worth the risks to your teeth! Just one energy drink can make you susceptible to any one of the consequences outlined here. For more information on how you can protect your oral health, please visit our contact us page or call 704-759-0908.