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The sun is out and you can finally engage in some outdoor fun. But before you whip out your energy drink, think about an experiment which you made back in grade school when you submerged the tooth of a baby in soda overnight and saw some horrifying results the day after. Researchers did the same experiment but substituted soda for sports drinks and found out that the results were pretty much the same as when done with soda. In fact, the extent of enamel damage done by energy drinks can even be greater than soda with the AGD’s Journal of General Dentistry specifying that the former can cause 3 to 11 times more enamel erosion than soda.
So what really happened?
Researchers made use of cavity-free teeth in the experiment which included have a dozen drinks, namely lemonade, sports drinks, energy drinks, fitness water, iced tea and soda. They then immersed a tooth for every beverage for a total of 14 days, which according to their calculations is equal to consuming these beverages for a total of 13 years.
While each beverage did considerable damage to the enamel layers of the teeth, the extent of the damage differed. Of the mentioned drinks, the lemonade gave the most extensive level of damage followed by energy drinks and then sports drinks. What came out most surprisingly to researchers may be the fact that sodas registered the least amount of damage compared to all the mentioned drinks with fitness water and iced tea causing even more erosion.
What are the complications of enamel erosion?
Enamel erosion can give rise to cavities and subsequent tooth decay. This is because the enamel becomes exceedingly soft that enamel crystals can easily be removed from the surface, causing some sort of burrow or microcrater. At the same time, erosion will also cause the breakdown of calcium which makes up the entire enamel layer. When the cavity forms deep into the heart of the tooth, the sufferer will then feel the usual symptoms of tooth decay including the dreaded toothache.
Of course, tooth decay is a worst case scenario but even the mildest form of enamel erosion can still cause significant discomfort in the form of teeth sensitivity. When the enamel layer is stripped off, the dentin layer becomes exposed with all its microscopic channels that lead to the pulp. Through these channels, substances will find their way in and activate the nerves.
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