The holidays are a chaotic time of the year, making us all crave a little pick-me-up here and there. It might be an extra cup of coffee in the morning or, in the case of many young adults, an energy drink in the afternoon.

Most people know that sugar is bad for oral hygiene, but what about their sugar-free alternatives? Nearly all research will tell you that regardless of your choice, both choices will make your teeth will take a turn for the worst.

A Quick Case Study

Earlier this year, a former college student reported that his addiction to energy drinks caused his teeth to decay over time and crack while he was eating, resulting in 24 fillings and dentures. Even though he kept up with his normal oral care routine, it was not enough to prevent the irreversible damage to his teeth.

He may seem like an outlier, but more teens and young adults are suffering from energy drink addiction. This has resulted in an increasing number of patients with rotting teeth, disrupted sleep patterns, emergency room visits, and more.

Sports Drinks vs. Your Teeth

Energy drinks are not the only unhealthy beverage that teens and young adults have come to depend on. There are also a wide range of sports drinks that can lead to negative dental consequences when consumed regularly. Though you may be replenishing your body’s carbs and electrolytes, you are also increasing your chance of getting cavities. Consider balancing out how many of these drinks you consume by adding more water into the mix.

The Culprit

So, what makes energy drinks and sports drinks so bad for you? You feel more alert, productive, and resilient when you drink them – do the cons really outweigh the pros?

Both of these popular drink categories contain a high level of acid, which erodes the protective layers of your teeth – enamel and dentin. Other common ingredients in these beverages can result in teeth staining, higher blood pressure, anxiety problems, and weight gain.

The Takeaway

There is no doubt that sports drinks and energy drinks can benefit you in the short term. If you’re a college student, athlete, full-time worker, or generally just a busy person, they can help you stay focused and boost your stamina. But when you’re feeling good in the moment, you also have to remember how these drinks are impacting your long-term dental care. Is your addiction to these acidic beverages really worth the smile you’ve worked so hard to take care of?

The next time you get a craving, try to find another way to channel your energy. Start to exercise regularly or balance your diet with vitamin and mineral supplements. You won’t notice an immediate change, but it will positively impact your dental health and overall wellness in the long run.

Keep in mind that if you’re consuming several of these beverages a day, it is not a good idea to quit “cold turkey.” This can result in unwanted withdrawal symptoms like headaches, depression, and irritability. Contact our dental professionals today for more advice on how to protect your teeth and gums for years to come.