By Kristin Sidorov
Savvy consumers know that while most energy and sports drinks pretend to be a healthy option for active, on-the-go lifestyles, their excessive sugar and caffeine levels are usually anything but. Now a new study has one more offense to add to the list: Energy drinks contain a staggering amount of citric acid, which can destroy tooth enamel at an alarming and detrimental rate.
In particular, these findings are critical for teens and young adults, who are far and away the primary consumers of energy drinks. The study found that 30 to 50 percent of American teens reported using energy drinks, and 62 percent reported using sports drinks at least once a day. Researchers found that the acid in both types of drinks began stripping tooth enamel after only five days of consistent use.
Enamel helps protect teeth from decay, cavities, and sensitivity, and naturally wears away over time. Accordingly, it makes sense to try to preserve and protect it, especially during our younger years. Constantly bathing teeth in erosive acid can have an irreversible effect—once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good. Beverage companies continue to load these drinks with acid and have no responsibility to inform consumers of the amount on the label. As a result, consumers are pretty oblivious to the fact that it’s even an issue.
Researchers stress that while any one factor can’t be blamed for tooth decay (after all, an individual’s genetics, hygiene behavior, lifestyle, and diet all play a big part), it’s still important to keep the amount of citric acid you consume in check—including other forms of it, like lemon or other fruit juices.
For optimum dental health, try rinsing with water or chewing sugar-free gum after you consume any kind of acidic food or beverage, and if you’re an energy drink connoisseur, start cutting back and replacing the habit with a low- or no-acid (or sugar) alternative. There are great, natural ways to get an energy boost without slugging back energy drinks.