When you introduce sugar to your teeth, glycoproteins stick to the teeth’s surface, forming the beginnings of plaque. Plaque creates a sticky surface in which bacteria (especially the bacteria associated with cavities called Streptococcus mutans) stick to the teeth. These bacteria in your mouth then use the sugar as an energy source, creating a byproduct called lactic acid. Lactic acid increases the acidity around the teeth, which causes the calcium phosphate of the tooth enamel to dissolve. As this layer dissolves, cavities form.
Even more concerning to a dentist is the level of acidity that most energy drinks contain. According to a 2008 study published in the journal Nutrition Research, energy drinks erode the enamel of your teeth more than soda or fruit juices. This is due to the higher acid content of the energy drink. Many energy drink producers include high levels of citric acid to promote a certain flavor associated with the beverages, and to counteract the sweetness of the high sugar content. Carbonation from carbonated energy drinks can also contribute to the overall acid effects on your teeth. When your drink an energy drink, the chemical effects of the acidity strip away the minerals from your teeth. Since the drink touches most areas of your mouth as you swallow, you introduce this acid to all your teeth at once, compounding the effects. Over time this increased acidity causes tooth discoloration, cracks in the teeth, hypersensitivity and teeth erosion. In serious cases, erosion can destroy the tooth, resulting in the need for your dentist to install crowns or even dentures.
The obvious option for avoiding damage to your teeth from energy drinks is to avoid them all together, along with other sugary and acidic beverages. However, if the damage has already been done, and you live in the Roseville area of California, a local dentist can help remedy the damage, as well as provide the tools and education necessary to prevent future damage to your teeth.