June 13, 2018
Despite the convenience of modern life, people are more fatigued than ever. From waking up tired in the morning to falling into bed (exhausted) at night, it’s easy to spend the whole day feeling tired! But in recent years, a new kind of beverage came out that seemed like the perfect solution: energy drinks. Kind of like a cup of coffee on steroids, energy drinks promise to give you all the energy you need to get through your day. But are they as benign as they make themselves out to be? Not according to a recent study, which found that they increase the risk for cavities. If you want to learn more about how these beverages affect your oral health so you can avoid major work with a dentist in Fayetteville, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more!
How Do Energy and Sports Drinks Affect Your Teeth?
In the study mentioned earlier, both sports drinks and energy drinks were studied to determine whether they were harmful to the teeth. The results showed that both types of beverages damage enamel (the hard outer layer of teeth).
How? We often hear about the effects of sugar, but the problem isn’t sugar alone – acid is just as problematic. In fact, some of the most harmful drinks were actually sugar-free but had a high acid content.
As an analogy, think about what acid rain can do to metal and stone. Despite their strength, repeated exposure to acid will easily wear away these materials. Your teeth are similar.
Of course, sports and energy drinks aren’t the only factors in the development of cavities. Genetics, hygiene habits and a lack of dental care also contribute!
What Should You Do If You Can’t Avoid Energy Drinks?
If you’re having a hard time giving up energy or sports drinks, try the following to minimize the harmful effects on your teeth:
- Rinse with water – Swish with water several times to rinse away any sugars or acids. However, be sure to wait at least 20 minutes to brush because the acids soften your enamel, making it more susceptible to being worn away.
- Chew gum with xylitol – Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener that reduces the risk of cavities. If you can’t find xylitol gum, any sugar-free gum is a good second choice.
- Cut back – Even if you can’t give up these beverages entirely, just cutting back will be helpful!
- Use extra fluoride – Pick up a fluoride mouthwash at the grocery store and swish with it twice a day after brushing and flossing to strengthen your enamel.
And remember, for additional tips on maintaining a healthy smile, don’t hesitate to ask for help at your next checkup!
About the Author
Dr. Don Cheney is a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who knows that everyday habits can have major, unforeseen consequences to oral health. He always takes the time to educate patients about how to minimize the effects of these harmful habits so they can maintain a healthy smile. If you have any questions, he can be reached via his website or at (479) 442-3144.
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