There is a common misconception that energy drinks like Red Bull are healthier for you than soda or juice, but what many people don’t realize is that these energy drinks are highly acidic, even more so than sports drinks, and that they can cause significant damage to your oral health. We’ve put together a list of a few ways Red Bull can affect your teeth and what you can do to counteract its effects.
Highly Acidic Energy Drinks Erode Tooth Enamel
A study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry showed that Red Bull was more acidic than even Coca-Cola, and when teeth were exposed to the drink every four hours for five days, there was a noticeable erosion of tooth enamel, with energy drinks being twice as corrosive as sports drinks. Red Bull Sugar-Free was one of the top most acidic energy drinks tested, and only Gatorade proved to be more acidic than Red Bull. The high levels of citric acid present in energy drinks like Red Bull not only wear away at tooth enamel, but can also contribute to bone loss elsewhere in the body. Plus, an acidic environment in the mouth creates an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause tooth decay to thrive, and many people who regularly consume energy drinks like Red Bull sip several of them throughout the day, creating a constantly acidic environment in the mouth.
Acidity Combined with Excessive Sugar Leads to Tooth Decay
As if enamel erosion weren’t enough, the acidity of Red Bull combined with all of the added sugar is a perfect recipe for cavities since the acidity of the drinks encourages the growth of bad bacteria and the sugar gives them plenty to feed on. All of that acid and sugar constantly present in the mouth leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Combine that with the weakened tooth enamel and you can expect to be visiting your dentist sooner rather than later.
How to Lessen the Effects of Red Bull on Your Teeth
While it’s best to stick to drinking plain water – or at least sugar-free, non-acidic beverages – many of us still enjoy a flavored energy drink like Red Bull now and then. If you are going to regularly drink any kind of acidic, sugary beverage like soda, sports drinks, or energy drinks, here’s what you can do help preserve the health of your teeth:
- Drink the whole thing at once, preferably at mealtimes, since the saliva in your mouth will be stimulated from chewing and will help your mouth regain its natural pH level. Many people sip their energy drinks all day long, but this creates a constantly acidic environment. It’s a much better choice to drink it all in one sitting and sip plain water throughout the day if you find you are thirsty.
- Rinse your mouth with water immediately afterwards to help wash away some of the acid and sugar.
- Wait about 30-60 minutes and then brush your teeth to clean them thoroughly. Don’t brush immediately afterwards, or you’ll just spread the acid around your mouth. Waiting about 30 minutes gives the saliva in your mouth time to return your mouth to its natural pH level and clear away some of the residue.
Edgewater Dental Arts knows the importance of taking care of your teeth and making smart dietary choices to help keep your mouth healthy for years to come. We offer complete and affordable dental care and look forward to seeing you at your next visit. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.