Processed foods and beverages are littering the aisles of every grocery store, and more than likely every pantry across the country. With this, the enamel of our nation’s youth is rapidly deteriorating. Parents know they need to keep soda intake to a minimum in their children’s diets in order to avoid cavities and decay, but do they really know what kinds of choices are best for their children’s dental health? What we don’t realize is that some of the most common beverages have such high levels of acid, resulting in a mouthful of cavities and irreversible damage to children’s teeth.
Aside from these culprits, what other highly acidic beverages are bad for enamel? We invite you to take a look at this infographic on pH levels of common beverages below.
Young adults consume these drinks with the assumption that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels. They believe that these are better for them than "soda" and are shocked to find that these drinks are literally soaking their teeth in acid.
Some research was done on the acidity levels of sports and energy drinks. To test the effect of the acidity levels, the researchers immersed samples of human tooth enamel in each beverage for 15 minutes, followed by immersion in artificial saliva for two hours. This cycle was repeated four times a day for five days, and the samples were stored in fresh artificial saliva at all other times.
This testing simulated the same exposure that a large proportion of American teens and young adults are subjecting their teeth to on a regular basis by drinking one of these beverages every few hours.This research found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports or energy drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. In fact, energy drinks caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks. Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible. Without the protection of enamel, teeth become overly sensitive, more prone to cavities, and more likely to decay and wear.
It is recommended that patients minimize their intake of sports and energy drinks. It is also advised that they chew sugar-free gum or rinse their mouth with water following consumption of these drinks. Both of these tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal.