Statistics continue to show an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among kids. Along with having the potential to cause various health problems, these beverages can cause irreversible damage to teeth. And sugar is only part of the reason — high acidity levels in these drinks erode enamel, the outer layer of teeth.
Children and adolescents aren’t worried about their teeth when they consume these drinks
Kids are trying to improve their sports performance and/or energy levels. Parents might even think they’re a good choice, compared to carbonated soft drinks. And parents and kids alike would be surprised to realize that when they consume sports and energy drinks, they’re essentially bathing their teeth in acid.
Acidity levels can vary between brands and flavors
Research studies have found that damage to enamel is evident after only five days of exposure to any sports or energy drink. But energy drinks show the greatest potential to damage teeth, about twice as much as sports drinks.
About half of all U.S. teens consume energy drinks
And as many as 62% of teens consume at least one sports drink every day. So it’s time that kids and parents begin to understand what these drinks are doing to their children’s dental health:
- Tooth enamel is irreversibly damaged
- Teeth become overly sensitive
- Teeth are more likely to form decay
Teens and their parents frequently come into the office with these symptoms and no idea what has caused them.
What you can do to mitigate the damage
Start by minimizing your child’s intake of sports and energy drinks. This can be difficult with older children who have more freedom and control over their diets. So at the very least, make them aware of the dangers, and tell them to rinse their mouths with water and/or chew sugarless gum after consuming a sports or energy drink. This will increase saliva flow, which helps return acidity levels in the mouth to neutral.