Energy drinks may provide as a study aid to students during finals week but some consumers are unaware of their irreversible damage.
A recent study at SIU-Edwardsville demonstrate the harmful effects of energy drinks on teeth.
The study, published in the May/June 2012 addition of General Dentistry, shows how high acidity levels found in energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster produce rapid damage to tooth enamel, the layer of protection on a tooth.
Poonam Jain, a researcher and professor at SIUE, said she created the study with college students in mind.
“Students are always drinking energy drinks. It is a product of their generation, so we really do not know too much about their health effects,” she said.
According to the journal, the study was conducted over five days. Samples of teeth were soaked in nine different energy drinks and 13 different sports drinks for 15 minutes straight, four times a day. After each individual soaking, the teeth samples were then submerged in saliva.
Jain said each 15-minute period imitates how long it takes to drink one of the beverages, and the saliva’s purpose was to delude and process the acidic residue left on the teeth.
“The goal of this study was to simulate the same exposure that a large proportion of American teens and young adults are subjecting their teeth to on a regular basis when they drink one of these beverages every few hours,” Jain said.
The American Beverage Association posted a response to the study on its website, saying it is irresponsible to blame foods, beverages or any other single factor for enamel loss and tooth decay. It also said science shows that individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, total diet and genetic makeup.
The results of the study show energy drinks contain nearly double the amount of teeth rotting acid as sports drinks and that levels of acidity were not consistent with brand but depended more upon flavor.
“It was very evident at the end of the research that these drinks were causing irreversible damage to not only teeth, but bone development as well,” she said. “After only five days, the teeth samples showed substantial damage. That is just a small glance at the amount of damage being done to those who consume
these drinks daily.”
Jain said she is concerned most people, especially adolescents, are not aware of the possible health problems caused by these drinks.