Saturday, May 5, 2012

Concerns w/ Sports & Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth-specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.
Sports Drinks
 Researchers examined the acidity levels in 13 sports drinks and 9 energy drinks.  They found the acidity levels can vary b/n brands of beverages and flavor of the same brand. They found that damage to enamel was evident after only 5 days of exposure to sports or energy drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sport drinks.  In fact, the authors found that energy drinks caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks.
With a reported 30-50% of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks and as many as 62% consuming @ least one sports drink / day.  It is important to educate parents and young adults about the downside of these drinks.  Damage caused to tooth enamel is irreversible, ans without the protection of enamel, teeth become sensitive & prone to cavities.
Dentist should review the diets & snacking habits of their teen/adolescent patients and then discuss their consumptions of these beverages.  They don't realize that something as seemingly harmless as a sport or energy drink can do a lot damage to their teeth.

Recommendations :
1) Minimize the intake of sport and energy drinks.
2) Chew sugar-free gum or rinse the mouth with water following consumption of the drinks.
* Both tactics increase saliva flow, which naturally helps to return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal.
**Also, patients should wait @ least an hour to brush their teeth after consuming sports& energy drinks.  Otherwise, they will be spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces, increasing the erosive action.

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