Why Energy Drinks and Processed Foods Hurt Teeth

Woman having a donut and drink while driving a car.

Americans enjoy energy drinks and processed foods, such as white bread, crackers, cakes and pretzels. But dental experts say that the acids in energy drinks and the starches in processed foods hurt teeth by damaging tooth enamel. Here’s what you need to know.

How starchy foods can affect teeth

The Journal of Dental Research reports that starches in processed foods hurt teeth and increase the risk of dental decay. The starch can be broken down into sugars by enzymes in saliva. The sugars can cling to teeth, causing plaque that attacks enamel and causes decay. Read this article to learn more about preventing tooth decay.

Researchers tested foods made from whole grain carbohydrates. They found that foods made from whole grains contain starches that the body digests more slowly. That means whole grain foods are less likely to stick to your teeth and damage your oral health. When shopping at the grocery store, nutrition experts recommend purchasing whole grain pasta or couscous and wholemeal bread.

Why energy drinks damage teeth

Americans try to make the most of every hour of each day. Sometimes that means they get less sleep than they need. So to keep focused, they sip on energy drinks throughout the day. And dentists have noticed an increase in adult tooth decay.

Juice drinks are the No. 1 cause of cavities in children, but energy drinks are No. 1 for adults.

Researchers report that the acids in energy drinks are two times higher than the amount in sports drinks. This acid also can create reflux problems, which can cause cavities. Some energy drinks can be as acidic as battery acid. After one sip, an energy drink can lower the pH in saliva to dangerous levels that temporarily soften tooth enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable. To restore those pH levels, it takes the body about 30 minutes.

Dentists say that people who drink energy drinks also tend to be more hyper. They may grind their teeth, which can cause teeth to crack and chip. If left untreated, decay can get into these spaces, attack the enamel and cause tooth loss.

Your best bet is to brush every 12 hours for at least two minutes each time with a soft-bristle brush. Floss once a day, too. However, after eating or drinking, wait 30 minutes until your saliva’s pH returns to normal, then brush. This way, your tooth enamel won’t be damaged. Choose fresh water and whole foods whenever possible, because energy drinks and processed foods hurt teeth.

Your smile makes a great first impression. So, it’s important to take care of your pearly whites. Read this article to learn about six things to avoid for healthy teeth.

Athletes taking a break with energy drinks.

Medical Xpress