Water and good hydration are essential for every system in our body to function properly and efficiently, but are there real benefits to the new flavored waters and energy drinks? Are there negative effects? Super water drinks, or vitamin-enhanced waters, have become the drink of choice for many people. But what are these drinks doing to our teeth? Many dentists feel that when it comes to flavored waters and energy drinks, you should save your teeth (and your money) by drinking plain old water.
Flavored Water vs. Soda
While some people assume flavored waters and energy drinks are healthy alternatives to soda (it says as much right there on the label!), they may not realize that these drinks are loaded with sugars, acids and dyes that can damage their teeth.
The added sugars in many of these drinks significantly increase the calorie count and also cause cavities. Recent research studies suggest that flavored waters and energy drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, ascorbic acid and artificial food coloring. All of these additives cause dental problems such as tooth decay, discoloration and erosion to the enamel on your teeth.
It has been found that in the United States we consume much of the excess sugar in our diets through flavored beverages – a problem we could avoid by drinking more plain water. The calorie-free varieties of flavored waters and energy drinks are not necessarily a better choice since they can still erode our tooth enamel and contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which can lead to other health concerns.
Getting Your Vitamins
Contrary to the benefits promised on the label, flavored water, vitamin water or any other type of energy drink may actually be less nutritious than plain water. There has been a growing concern about the negative health effects from the additives, including the vitamins that are found in flavored waters.
Vitamin C is a popular ingredient in these drinks because it has broad appeal for its immunity boosting properties. Although vitamin C has health benefits, its acidity can cause dental erosion. If you drink flavored water on a daily basis (or take a chewable vitamin) to get your daily quota, you could be wearing down the protective enamel on your teeth. Further, when added to beverages vitamins are not easily absorbed by our bodies. Your body will absorb vitamins more efficiently if you consume them via whole foods like apples, broccoli and spinach.
If you’re going to drink colored waters, you can count on staining your teeth. Artificial food colorings commonly found in flavored waters include FD&C Blue No.1, Red No.3 and Yellow No. 40. Not only are these food colorings going to stain your teeth, they also contain small amounts of mercury, lead, chromium and arsenic. While trace amounts of these are approved by the FDA, their safety has not been confirmed.
The Final Word
The best way to take care of your teeth and be sure that you are getting the essential hydration, vitamins and minerals needed to maintain good health is to eat a balanced diet of natural, unprocessed foods and pure water. A non-chewable daily multivitamin will help fill any nutritional gaps in your diet without adding the teeth-damaging additives found in artificial beverages. The best choice of beverage is plain water. And, if you do reach for an energy drink or flavored water once in a while, be sure to drink plenty of plain water to flush it out (and brush your teeth more to help guard against stains, cavities and erosion.)