Energy drinks seem to be the rage these days, but what are they doing to your teeth?
The promise of instant energy in a can may sound appealing, but it comes with a cost. Like many other sugar-laden drinks, energy drinks come with a heavy jolt of caffeine and a pancreas-testing 27 grams of sugar. And like traditional cola drinks, energy drinks are highly acidic.
Quick Chemistry Lesson
To appreciate the significance of this highly acidic drink, a quick review of your science class is necessary.
Whether a substance is acidic, neutral or alkaline is based on its concentration of hydrogen ions. Its “pH” (potential for hydrogen) is measured on a 14-point scale.
Most municipal tap water comes in at a neutral 7.0 and human blood is slightly alkaline at 7.33.
Many prepared beverages tend to be on the acidic side of things:
- Coffee 4.0
- Orange Juice 3.8
- Black Tea 3.0
- Wine 3.4
- Cola drinks 2.37
- Lemon juice 2.0
Stomach acid is even more acidic at 1.0 and is comparable to the acid in your car’s battery!
Most energy drinks have a pH similar to classic cola drinks.
Why pH Matters
Simply put, drinks with a low pH can have a demineralising effect on your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our body, but it can’t stand up to being repeatedly immersed in a bath of highly acidic sugar water.
Not only can you lose the protective enamel coating on your teeth, the sugar used to sweeten most energy drinks creates the perfect storm for tooth decay.
But the pH story continues.
There’s still the issue of once the energy drinks, colas and other acidic beverages get past our taste buds and enter our digestive tract. Those who drink a lot soda also tend to have lower bone density. To neutralise the acid, calcium and phosphorous may be leached from our bones.
Healthier Ways to Get An Energy Boost
Granted, no single food or beverage is the factor producing enamel loss or tooth decay. Your susceptibility to tooth erosion and cavities depend on a variety of issues. Among them your dental hygiene habits, diet, lifestyle and even your genetic predisposition.
There are many ways to boost your energy naturally.
- Get regular exercise
- Go to bed a bit earlier
- Drink more water
- Eat nutritious food
- Maintain a positive attitude
And if you’re compelled to gulp down one of those energy drinks? Dilute it. Take a couple of swigs of water and swish it around in your mouth. You’ll dilute the acid and reduce the time it takes your mouth to rebound to a more normal pH.