Energy Drinks and Your Teeth and Health. Should You Worry?
Researchers at Southern Illinois University set out to discover the answer in 2012. The results, which surprised even the research team, showed considerable damage to tooth enamel after only five days of steady consumption.
To determine the effect of these drinks on our teeth, the research team looked at 22 popular sports and energy drinks, and exposed artificial tooth enamel to the beverages for 15 minutes at a time, four times daily. This schedule was chosen because it mirrors the consumption habits of many users who drink these beverages every few hours - a particularly common habit among those who consume sports drinks. After each 15-minute exposure, the enamel was then placed into an artificial saliva solution for two hours to mimic what would happen once consumption stopped. After only five days on this schedule, the enamel showed a 1.5% loss with sports drinks, and a shocking 3% loss with energy drinks.
We're not asking you to give up your sports beverages and energy drinks. It is wise to know the risks, however, and to have in your arsenal a way to combat some of their side-effects. Here are two quick tips that will help you if you can't shake the habit:
- Keep water nearby so you can help dilute the acid covering your teeth, while also increasing the saliva production that helps protect your enamel.
- Don't brush immediately after consuming such beverages. Why? Because in the thirty minutes to an hour after consumption, the enamel of your teeth will be slightly softer, and brushing in this window of time literally ends up spreading the acid around to other parts of your teeth. Not good. If you want to brush, save it for an hour or so later.
If that is not enough to make you concerned about how energy drinks can effect you. Check out the effects it can have on the rest of your health.
Effect of Energy Drinks and your Health
Fourteen Dangers of Drinking Too Many Energy Drinks at One Time
- Cardiac Arrest: While our Caffeine Calculator can show people how many energy drinks at one time would be lethal, this formula doesn’t apply to everyone. Those with underlying heart conditions have gone into cardiac arrest after just a few energy drinks. Before drinking energy drinks or caffeine, be sure to know your heart’s health.-A new study showed that energy drinks cause more forceful heart contractions, which could be harmful to some with certain heart conditions.- One study showed that between 2009 and 2011 there were 4854 calls to poison control centers regarding energy drinks. 51% of these calls were involving children. Another study shows the link between energy drinks and cardiac events among teens. This study recommends that teens consume no more than one 250 ml energy drink per day and not before or during sports or exercise. A 2016 study showed that 18-40-year-olds who drank energy drinks had a significant increase in their QTc interval, which is a marker of abnormal heart rhythm risk.
- Headaches and Migraines: Too many energy drinks can lead to severe headaches from the caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Changing the amount of caffeine you ingest daily can cause more frequent headaches.
- Increased Anxiety: Those with 2 different genetic variations in their adenosine receptors are prone to feeling increased anxiety when consuming caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks. Larger doses of caffeine can even spur on full blown panic attacks.
- Insomnia: Energy drinks do a good job of keeping people awake, but when abused, they can cause some people to miss sleep altogether. This lack of sleep causes impaired functioning and can be dangerous to drive or perform other concentration heavy tasks.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Because many energy drinks are also very high in sugar, they can eventually wear out the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, which leads to type 2 diabetes.
- Drug Interaction: Some of theingredients in energy drinks can interact with prescription medications especially medications taken for depression.
- Addiction: People can become addicted to caffeine and energy drinks. This can lead to a lack of functioning when unable to have the energy drink or a financial stress from having to buy several energy drinks daily.
- Risky behavior: There was a study published in The Journal of American College Health which showed that teens are more likely to take dangerous risks when high on caffeine. This could result in injury or legal trouble.
- Jitters and Nervousness: Too much caffeine from energy drinks causes some people to shake and be anxious. This can interfere with performing needed tasks or cause emotional issues. This study shows how caffeine can elicit anxiety.
- Vomiting: Too many energy drinks can lead to vomiting. This causes dehydration and acid erosion of teeth and esophagus if frequent.
- Allergic Reactions: Because of the many ingredients in energy drinks reactions could occur, from minor itching to airway constriction.
- High Blood Pressure: Caffeinated products like energy drinks can elevate a person’s blood pressure. For those with normal blood pressure, this isn’t concerning, but those with already elevated blood pressure could be placing themselves at risk of stroke and other health problems related to hypertension if they consume too many energy drinks in a short period of time. A more recent study conducted by The Mayo Clinic found that Rockstar Energy Drink (240mg version) significantly raised the blood pressure of study participants compared to the placebo drink. Overall, there was a 6.4% increase in average blood pressure. A newer study published by the American Heart Association showed that energy drinks have a greater negative effect on blood pressure than drinks that contain caffeine alone as the active ingredient. They believe the combination of ingredients in energy drinks are why these beverages pose a greater risk of heart-related problems than drinks like coffee or tea.
- Niacin Overdose: Niacin (Vitamin B3) is placed in most energy drinks at levels that cause no harm and can even be therapeutic. However, if a person is taking additional supplements containing Niacin, overdosing on the vitamin is possible when consuming energy drinks in addition to those supplements. Symptoms include; Skin flushing, dizziness, rapid heart rate, vomiting, itching, gout, and diarrhea. The British Journal of Medicine recently published a case study of a man who experienced nonviral hepatitis from B3 toxicity believed to have been from consuming too many energy drinks during a period of three weeks.
- Stress Hormone Release: A study conducted by The Mayo Clinic found that a240 mg version of Rockstar Energy-Drink caused an increase in stress hormone release. The average norepinephrine level of the participants increased by 74% while the placebo only caused a 31% increase.
One quick way to work out whether what you’re eating or drinking is beneficial to your dental and overall health is to get familiar with the way food and drink manufacturers word their labels. It’s actually not as challenging as you might think.
For instance, you can quickly tell if the product you’re consuming has sugar or acid by checking not just for the word “sugar” but for honey, rice syrup or even “organic dehydrated cane juice”. Similarly to check for acidity, look for things like citric acid (a flavor enhancer) or “sodium benzoate” (a preserving agent); generally if the ingredient ends in an “ate”, it’s an acidic preservative of some kind.
Once you’re familiar with the way these ingredients are described, you’ll be much better equipped to know which foods and drinks are good for the health of your teeth and gums and will help you stay at the top of your sporting game.
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