Fotolia_40413702_XS-200x300The studies were spurred on by the increase in consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially by adolescents. The study warned that both sports drinks and energy drinks have pH levels that are at a level of acidity that can cause demineralization or weakening of the enamel. Also, they found that they both contain citric acid, included to help improve the taste and shelf life of the drink, which can also have an effect on enamel. The study showed, that although both sports and energy drinks are acidic enough that if  excessively consumed they can cause damage to dental enamel, energy drinks have a “significantly greater potential for enamel dissolution than sports drinks”. The study also brought to light some interesting information:

  • ” Approximately 30-50%  of adolescents and young adults in the U.S. consume energy drinks and that 51-62% of adolescents consume at least one sports drink per day”
  • Energy drinks are a fairly new and quickly growing product and there haven’t been many studies on the effects of energy drinks. One statistic showed that energy drinks are such a growing market that “200 new brands of energy drinks were launched in 2007 alone”. Also, because of new flavors and formulations are being created so frequently and the vast differences even between effects of flavors of the same brand, it is very difficult to generalize about these effects.
  • Different flavors within the same brand had different levels of acidity.
  • Of all the drinks tested “Gatorade Blue was found the highest titratable acidity” Also, Red Bull Sugar Free, Monster Assault, 5-Hour Energy, Von Dutch, and Rock Star had higher acidity than Red Bull, Rip It, Full Throttle Fury and MDX.
So what does this mean, should we stop drinking energy drinks? In my opinion that is not what this study means at all. These products when consumed excessively have the potential to create a more cavity prone mouth. So like all things they should be consumed in moderation. Also, due to the acidity of these products it is recommended by the Academy of General Dentistry to wait at least an hour to brush your teeth after consuming a sports or energy drink.    
A comparison of sports and energy drinks—Physiochemical properties and enamel dissolution; By Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH; Emily Hall-May, MS; Kristi Golabek; Ma Zenia Agustin, PhD