Most of us have heard about the outrageous amounts of sugar a single energy drink can contain. But you may not realize how damaging energy drinks can be to your oral health. 

In this post, I’ll cover the ways energy drinks affect your teeth and tips for reducing oral health and enamel damage from energy drinks

Key Takeaways: Here are the main ways that energy drinks affect our teeth! 

    • Energy drinks are packed with unhealthy ingredients, such as herbal stimulants, preservatives, high caffeine levels, simple carbohydrates, empty calories, and extremely high levels of sugar
    • The excessive sugar in energy drinks makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, plaque, and decay
    • The high acidity of energy drinks can permanently harm tooth enamel and put teeth at a higher risk of decay
    • Damaged tooth enamel can lead to sensitivity issues, decay, discolouration, discomfort, and other oral health issues
    • Sugar-free energy drinks are still acidic and full of artificial ingredients that can damage teeth and oral health
    • Minimising consumption, drinking through a straw, rinsing with water after drinking, and waiting at least 30 minutes to brush after consuming an energy drink can help minimise enamel damage

lady with braces drinking a drink

5 Ways Energy Drinks Affect Your Teeth and Harm Oral Health

1. Cavities and Decay:

The ingredients and high sugar levels in energy drinks can promote cavities and decay. Common energy drink ingredients include:

  • Artificial colours
  • Preservatives
  • Extremely high levels of caffeine
  • Additives
  • Empty calories
  • Simple carbohydrates

Along with all of these unhealthy ingredients, energy drinks are packed with sugar. Aside from water, sugar is the main ingredient in energy drinks. Some brands contain over 50 or 60 grams of sugar in a single can! This alarming amount of sugar can lead to serious damage to your oral health and overall health. High sugar consumption feeds bad bacteria in the mouth that produce plaque and acids that destroy enamel and lead to decay and cavities. 

You May Like: Nutrition Information and Sugar Content in Energy Drinks

 

2. Permanent Enamel Damage

The sky-high sugar content is bad enough but energy drinks are also dangerously acidic. Foods and beverages with a pH between 0 and 6 are considered acidic. The closer a food or drink is to 0, the more acidic it is. Many energy drinks have a pH around 1.5 to 3.3! This extremely high acidity negatively impacts oral health.  

Saliva plays a critical role in healthy teeth and gums by neutralising acids and rinsing away food particles. Saliva’s normal pH is around 6.2 to 7.6. When the mouth’s pH level drops under 5.5, the high acidity can wear down and thin the enamel that protects the tooth’s surface. The high acidity of energy drinks can lower saliva’s pH, reducing its protective properties and exposing teeth to damaging acids. If energy drinks damage tooth enamel, it will not regrow. Enamel serves as the protective surface of teeth. Damaged or weakened enamel leaves teeth susceptible to serious oral health issues. 

Possible side effects of damaged tooth enamel include: 

  • Sensitivity when consuming certain foods and drinks (i.e very hot or cold foods or beverages, overly sweet foods, or spicy foods)
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Bleeding or inflamed gums
  • Gum disease 
  • Cavities
  • Staining and discolouration due to the dentin showing through thinner enamel
  • Plaque build up
  • Decay

Eat a balanced diet and avoid sugary drinks and foods.3. Sensitivity Issues

Enamel protects the delicate, sensitive inner layers of the tooth. When tooth enamel is eroded, the inner layers of teeth are exposed to foods, air, and drinks. This exposure can cause sensitivity and discomfort, especially when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks.

 

4. Gum Recession

Worn down enamel also leaves teeth susceptible to gum recession. When the gums recede, the tooth roots can be exposed and cause additional sensitivity. It may also lead to painful, inflamed, or bleeding gums. Once the gum line recedes, it can create pockets where bacteria can easily build up below the gum line. This can lead to severe gum disease, decay, and even tooth loss if left untreated.

 

5. Damage to Restorative Materials

Along with damaging natural teeth, energy drinks can also damage restorative materials. The acidity and artificial colours can lead to staining and increased wear of restorative materials such as resin composite. A study found that energy drinks led to decreased hardness, increased roughness, and colour changes in tooth-coloured restorative materials. 

You can read the details of the study here: In vitro surface and color changes of tooth-colored restorative materials after sport and energy drink cyclic immersions.

Do Sugar-Free Energy Drinks Affect Your Teeth?

Our patients often ask if sugar-free energy drinks are safe for teeth. They may sound less harmful, but sugar-free energy drinks are still awful for oral health. Sugar-free energy drinks are still highly acidic, putting you at risk of enamel damage and decay. 

Tips to Reduce Enamel Damage from Energy Drinks

For your healthiest mouth, we recommend avoiding energy drinks altogether. However, if you want to drink one on occasion, here are a few tips to minimise teeth damage from energy drinks: 

  • Drink the energy drink through a straw to minimise the drink’s contact with your teeth
  • Chew a piece of sugar-free gum after to stimulate saliva production 
  • Finish the energy drink in one sitting — do not sip it throughout the day
  • Drink your energy drink with a meal 
  • Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after drinking an energy drink before brushing (brushing immediately after can cause further enamel damage)
  • Rinse your mouth with water after consuming energy drinks to neutralise the acid and stimulate saliva production
  • Don’t let the energy drink sit in your mouth
  • Include foods that boost oral health as part of your regular diet
  • Maintain a good oral health routine (brush twice daily and floss once a day)
  • See your dentist for a dental check up once every 6 months or as recommended 

Need Help Maintaining or Restoring Your Oral Health? Our Caring Team Is Here to Help 

With excessive sugar, high caffeine, and high acidity, energy drinks affect your teeth in a variety of negative ways. We recommend avoiding energy drinks but we also understand you may still want to enjoy one now and then. By rinsing with water after consuming energy drinks, waiting to brush your teeth, attending a dental check up every 6 months, and using a straw, you can minimise tooth damage from energy drinks. 

If you are looking for a Dental Clinic Perth families know and trust, we are here for you! 

Contact us with questions or to book a dental check up