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Effects of energy drinks on dental caries

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Today, energy and sports drinks are widely used in the world and in our country, increasing their popularity. Energy drinks are non-alcoholic beverages that contain many energizing substances. Sports drinks are frequently used by athletes to increase performance in competitions and to compensate for fluid and electrolyte loss. Both energy and sports drinks are important in terms of dentistry due to the caries-forming effect and the potential for erosion, depending on the amount of carbohydrates in them. Since the substances in energy drinks, especially carbohydrates, prevent the intake of water that the body needs, it should be given to adult athletes in heavy competitions only by the joint decision of professionals such as trainers, nutritionists and sports doctors. It is recommended to be consumed 15-30 minutes after the activity, not immediately before or during physical activity, as it slows down fluid absorption and causes gastrointestinal problems.

Sports drinks usually contain carbohydrates, sodium and potassium, and glucose from the carbohydrates in these drinks is the most important energy source used by muscle, brain and blood cells. It is absorbed much faster than glucose, sucrose and fructose. It has been shown that fructose, which is the main carbohydrate source in beverages such as fruit juice, is not an extra energy source and can cause gastrointestinal disorders. For this reason, glucose is preferred over fructose in sports drinks. Sports drinks are generally of three types: carbohydrate loaders, fluid replacements, and nutritional supplement drinks.
Energy and sports drinks have a similar caries effect to fruit juices and carbonated drinks, and their pH is very low. Caries-forming effects are related to the carbohydrate content in their content. Its importance in dentistry is that it has an erosive abrasive effect.
In athletes, saliva flow decreases due to water loss during exercise. As a result, erosive, abrasive and caries-forming effects on teeth increase.

The relationship between energy and sports drinks and tooth decay and erosion

Dental caries is a common disease in children with multifactorial etiology. The caries-forming effect of a nutrient depends on the type of carbohydrate (CH) in it, the amount of KH and the KH concentration. Energy and sports drinks contain glucose and fructose, which are monosaccharides as sweeteners. Although monosaccharides are converted to acid more easily and in a short time by microorganisms compared to di and polysaccharides, the caries-forming effects of beverages are less due to the fact that the residence time in the mouth is shorter than solid foods.
The caries-forming properties of foods or beverages also depend on their acid-forming potential, the amount of acid formed in the plaque, the duration of its occurrence, and the frequency of consumption of that substance.
While energy and sports drinks have a caries-causing effect by converting the carbohydrates in them to acid by microorganisms, on the other hand, they cause more erosion and wear on the teeth due to their acidic structure.

Conclusion: Today, energy and sports drinks, which are widely consumed among young people, have erosive potentials on teeth. Since brushing teeth immediately after consuming acidic beverages increases the erosion effect, it would be correct to use such beverages limitedly and not to brush the teeth immediately after consumption.

Best regards ;

Dr. Suhan SUNGUR