Protecting pearly whites

"Soda and energy drinks are the most commonly consumed beverages by adults in America, according to; but most consumers are unaware of the dental and physical health concerns that come with every sip.

""On average, adolescent people drink up to 400 milliliters of soft drinks daily, which equates to half a quart a day." said Dr. Robert Schaefer, who is a local dentist who is aware of the rise of poor oral health amongst adolescent patients through both his own experience and research on the topic. "

"According to the American Dental Association, on average, Americans consume more than 53 gallons of soft drinks and sodas annually, causing many to suffer from osteoporosis and weakening of the bones.

"The three major substances in these energy drinks, two of which contribute to the poor dental health of young adults, are sugar, water and acids, Schaefer said. Sugars cause cavities while the acids in the drinks can cause toothaches, erosion of enamel, tooth decay and loss of calcium in the teeth and other bones of the body.

"Phosphoric and sorbic acid are the "biggest and most troublesome" of the acids in energy drinks and sodas, Schaefer said.

"On a pH scale, seven is the neutral level of acidity. Closest to zero is the most acidic, while 14 is the least acidic. Pepsi, Coca-Cola and similar energy drinks have a 2.5 pH level, which is more acidic than a cup of coffee with a five pH, Schaefer said.

""When you are drinking substances containing such high acidity levels, you are bathing your teeth in acid every time you take a sip, thus destroying the enamel," Schaefer said. "And once that’s gone, it’s gone forever."

"When you’re working out or playing a sport, your body gets dehydrated as you sweat and responds by asking for a form of hydration or energy. At this time, drinking an energy or electrolyte drink will fill your stomach and cause your blood stream, extremities and organs to release its own water supply into your stomach in order to dilute the sugar cells, which leaves you feeling full and equally as dehydrated.

""When you work out, you need water," Schaefer said. "When you sweat, you need water. This generation of young people are harming themselves by choosing to drink these energy drinks."

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