Red bull teeth: new fear unlocked!

Red bull teeth may be a phenomenon you are familiar with. But if you don’t know, to put it simply, the idiom came out of a terrible consequence of the harmful effects of red bull on the teeth. You can think of the red bull teeth as deformed teeth filled with cavities.

Of course, we all want to have healthy and beautiful teeth and want to consume whatever we wish. However, the products we consume can be a serious obstacle to having them. Although red bull has a highly abrasive effect on your teeth, it also causes many dental problems. The result of this situation is, what we call red bull teeth!

To understand the effects of the things we consume on our body, we will try to explain to you why and how red bull teeth happen and what we can do to prevent it. Let’s dive into the details!

What is red bull teeth?

“Red Bull teeth” is a condition consisting of highly deformed teeth. This deformation includes abrasions on the tooth surface, dark yellow teeth covered with tartar buildup, worn indentations on the teeth, staining, tooth discoloration, and advanced tooth decay. This description depicts the latest and most radical version of the situation. Similar phenomena exist for various different beverage groups such as mountain dew teeth, or coca-cola teeth.

Why is red bull bad for teeth?

The reasons why Redbull and similar energy drinks can drag you into such a situation are actually quite simple and obvious. Basically, we can sum it up in two words: acid and sugar. So let’s examine together how these two problematic elements damage your teeth. Redbull contains a lot of sugar (sucrose and glucose) and a high amount of citric acid. To better understand their amount, we can list the nutritional values as follows:

                                     In one redbull (260 millilitres)
Calories                                                       112
Protein                                                 1.2 grams
Fat                                                         –
Carbs                                                  27 grams
Sugar                                                  27 grams
Caffeine                                              75 milligrams

Consumption of such beverages means consuming more than the daily sugar requirement or almost as much as the daily sugar requirement at once.

Sugar is the number one food for bacteria that damage your teeth and cause plaque and tartar formation. These bacteria settle on the surface of your teeth and on your gingival border. They will turn the sugar into acidic secretions and carve the tooth surface where they settle day by day. So sugary drinks are one of the biggest enemies of your teeth that seriously increase the risk of cavities. 

Redbull is also a highly acidic beverage. The acidity of energy drinks is much higher than most of the other beverages. The citric acid red bull contains causes tooth demineralization and erodes the enamel layer, which is the armor of your teeth. This will make your teeth more vulnerable to cavities, and consequently, worn-out tooth enamel will be transparent and will cause your dentin to show up. Eventually, your teeth will look yellow. Eroded enamel also causes serious tooth sensitivity. But how acidic can a can of red bull be?

pH is the measurement unit that shows the acidity level of substances. We think of pH as a scale with zero at one edge and fourteen at the other edge. The lower the pH is, the more acidic the material is. Of course more acidic the material, it gives more damage to teeth. The minimum pH value that tooth enamel can tolerate is 5.5. Keep in mind that Redbull’s pH level is 3.3. Here you can see the pH values of different substances:

In other words, the fact that red bull contains both acid and sugar doubles the damage. High acidity causes serious effects on tooth enamel. With enamel getting eroded, the tooth becomes more vulnerable to decay, while the high amount of sugar feeds the bacteria living on your teeth. So the inevitable effects of energy drinks on your teeth are dental cavities, discoloration, and eroded tooth surface; aka red bull teeth. 

Is sugar-free red bull bad for your teeth?

Actually, yes. Although it really does not contain sugar, sugar is not the only reason for Red Bull teeth. Sugar-free Redbulls still contain high amounts of acid. While these acids are normally neutralized by your saliva, if too much is consumed, they can also make your saliva more acidic. And this creates an acidic environment covering all parts of your mouth. Exposure to this much acid also makes dental enamel erosion inevitable. After the enamel layer has eroded, it is time for the inner layers. And as we mentioned earlier, the eroding of the enamel layer also reveals the color of the underlying dentin layer. So sugar-free energy drinks are also the cause of red bull teeth.

How much does red bull stain your teeth?

Energy drinks also cause staining just like coffee, red wine, and similar drinks as a result of the substances they contain. They fill the pores of your teeth. The difference is that beverages like coffee and red wine are much more intense and darker. Therefore, they may cause more visible staining. However, Redbull and other energy drinks will also fill the teeth’ pores. So, such soft drinks may not contain as much staining materials as more intense beverages, and you may think they cause less discoloration. However, they dissolve the whitest layer of your teeth. Bad news! Staining will not be the only negative effect.

How to treat the effects?

As a matter of fact, there are measures you can take to prevent, or at least to slow down red bull teeth from getting worse. For example, drinking red bull and similar acidic beverages with the help of a straw reduces the direct contact of these liquids with your teeth. Thus, you can partially protect yourself from the corrosive effects of acid. As you can see from here, it will be better to swallow the drink directly rather than keeping the sugary beverage in your mouth.

In such situations, brushing your teeth may be the first reflex. However, at least for a while, you should not brush your teeth. The acids contained in energy drinks, when combined with the ingredients in toothpaste, can cause further damage to your tooth enamel.

After drinking them, it is very beneficial to rinse your mouth with water. In this way, you can also clean some of the sugar left in your mouth. It also helps you neutralize the rising acidity level. At the same time, rinsing your mouth will increase your saliva secretion. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleanser. Saliva also plays a role in maintaining the pH balance. Another method you can use to increase your saliva is chewing gum. However, it would be better to choose sugar-free gums to avoid causing more harm.

If cavities and enamel erosion are advanced, you will need medical treatments such as fillings, root canal treatments, and tooth removal. For cosmetic prosthetics such as implants or veneers can save your teeth and appearance.

When can I drink red bull after wisdom teeth removal?

Acidic drinks should be avoided after wisdom tooth extraction. This is because the area where the wisdom tooth was extracted needs to be treated sensitively during the self-healing period. Therefore, you should stay away from acidic drinks for a week to ten days. This also includes Redbull.

After the extraction, using of straw is also a great threat to the healing wounds. Because of extraction process leaves an open wound, you need to make sure the wound is clotted well. The sucking move you make for drinking on a straw creates a vacuum effect in your mouth. This can easily remove the blood clot in the wounded area. That’s why doctors prohibit sucking on a straw or spitting for at least 2 days after an extraction. This means you shouldn’t drink any Redbull via any method for at least 2 days for your oral health.

References:

Ehlen LA, Marshall TA, Qian F, Wefel JS, Warren JJ. Acidic beverages increase the risk of in vitro tooth erosion. Nutr Res. 2008 May;28(5):299-303. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.03.001. PMID: 19083423; PMCID: PMC2516950.

Khan K, Qadir A, Trakman G, Aziz T, Khattak MI, Nabi G, Alharbi M, Alshammari A, Shahzad M. Sports and Energy Drink Consumption, Oral Health Problems and Performance Impact among Elite Athletes. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 30;14(23):5089. doi: 10.3390/nu14235089. PMID: 36501119; PMCID: PMC9738880.

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