Dental Health Info Article

Tooth Savvy Energy Boosters:

Dental health and well being go hand in hand and it is for that reason exercising is an essential behavior. The process of exerting physical energy in order to improve health has a myriad of benefits, however those relying on energy drinks to get through any work out are making a bad choice for dental health.

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have found that people with healthy body mass index (BMI), who also exercise regularly and have a healthy diet also have lower chances of developing gum disease.

That process will have a number of physiological effects on the body and for decades, marketing executives have been telling consumers energy and sports drinks are a quick fix for replenishing vitamins and nutrients lost during a sweat session. Research has shown that those types of beverages can cause irreversible damage to their teeth courtesy of the high acid levels in the beverages (as they have been found to cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel.

In research published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry (the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry), scientists mimicked the effect of teeth being coated with sports drinks and then counterbalanced with an artificial saliva. The results showed that damage to tooth enamel mimicking tooth erosion occurred in as little as five days during the test with energy drinks and caused twice as much damage as beverages categorized as sports drinks. That is why 1-800-Dentist wanted to provide consumers with a list of some of the smartest thirst-quenchers/energy boosters to rely on instead.

Low-Fat Milk

For hundreds of years milk has been a dairy food known for "Doing a body good." Creamy, white milk is a natural beverage courtesy of cows that became incorporated into the human diet when mammals were domesticated. After society evolved into one based on farming consuming dairy foods including milk, cheese and yogurt became the norm.

Overtime scientists have discovered a myriad of health benefits linked to drinking milk. A glass of low-fat or skim milk is a great source of phosphorus, calcium and Vitamin D and is a recommended food category based on the Government's Nutrition Plate. It is for that reason that milk is a much better beverage choice than standard energy drinks.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic ( reviewed the topic and based on their research have found that low fat milk has all three components essential to recovering from a work out: carbohydrates, electrolytes and protein. Plus, the white beverage does not deliver empty calories ensuring that this energy drink is a better choice then processed soft drinks.

Ice Water

After an arduous workout, nothing is more refreshing than sipping on a glass of icy tap water. In addition to hydrating the body and boosting dental health (by washing away food deposits and delivering fluoride) without any additional empty calories, drinking ice water has the added perk of empowering the body to burn more calories than sipping on a room-temperature beverage.

Research published in the International Journal of Obesity indicated that drinking cold water has a thermogenic effect on adults (a reaction to food consumed that increases a metabolic rate by encouraging the body to produce energy or heat resulting in an expenditure of calories). The thermogenesis state triggered by sipping ice water can greatly increase the resting energy expenditure (REE) and the number of calories burned when a body is at rest ( The hypothesis is that sipping ice water will rapidly cool the upper gastrointestinal tract, and raise the REE rate, forcing the body to burn excess calories.

Individuals should know that while sipping ice water is smart, chewing on the cubes can cause dental problems. The reason? Water can exist in three states; liquid, gas (vapor or steam) and solid (in the form of ice). Although water is densest in its liquid state (which is the reason ice floats on water), frozen molecules are suspended in mid action and the liquid will convert to a tough solid, AKA ice. Chewing on ice can contribute to excessive wear and tear on teeth, damage tooth enamel, harm dental fillings and increase the odds of cracking the tooth itself. Additionally, individuals with sensitive teeth may not be able to handle the sensation of the icy temperature on exposed nerves.

Coffee or Tea

There is no arguing that professional athletes can benefit from sports drinks, but for the average Jane or Joe exercisers, the health benefits and pick-me-up effects associated with the drinks are typically negated by the risks to dental health presented by the higher acid and sugar levels present. Experts suggest that a plain caffeinated beverage such as tea or coffee is a much smarter idea. According to Elizabeth Applegate (Senior Lecturer, Department of Nutrition Director of Sports Nutrition, Intercollegiate Athletics) a low-cal drink with 100 grams of caffeine will provide the weekend warrior with enough of an energy boost minus the risks of processed beverages (

Aside from the energy perk, there are different dental health benefits linked to various, natural sources of caffeine. Coffee has been scientifically shown to reduce the odds of developing cavities, black tea is known for having naturally high levels of fluoride and green tea (rich with antioxidants, polyphenols and catechins) has been shown to fight cancer, prevent heart disease and can improve oral health by fighting gum disease. The key to reaping the health benefits of any type of caffeine is to keep it simple and avoid adding empty calories in the form of artificial sweeteners or sugar.

1-800-Dentist advises individuals to make the wisest beverage choices in regards to dental care and teeth and backing up a healthy diet with annual dental care exams from your dentist. Need to find a dentist, call 1-800-Dentist now!