What Are Your Patients Drinking?


In my 23 years of practicing dentistry I have seen the caries rate decline and now I have seen it rise again. When I talk with my patients about nutrition and oral hygiene, one of the things that has changed in the last  5 years is the number of people who consume energy drinks. There are so many of them on the market now that I can’t remember all of the names. When I was young we would drink Mountain Dew if we wanted a surge of energy, the combination of caffeine and sugar did the trick. Some of these new drinks make Mountain Dew seem pretty low-key when you look at the amount of caffeine and sugar.

It is the sugar content, and the frequency that out patients are consuming some of these beverages that is feeding the bacteria that cause caries. A great website to check out is called energy fiend and it lists the sugar and caffeine content of all the popular beverages on the market, including old fashioned soda, Starbucks and juice drinks. You can sort the data by grams of sugar per ounce, or by total grams of sugar in the drink, either way it is eye opening. Hype Energy Drink has over a 100 grams of sugar in one can!

I give my patients the link to this website so they can see for themselves what they are drinking. We try and give them some ideas for decreasing decay, including lowering the amount of sugar they consume, rinsing after drinking a sugary beverage if they can not brush, and brushing with a prescription toothpaste.




  1. Carl B. Fitzsimmons, DDS says

    Hey Lee, I’m seeing a lot of caries. And I find it interesting when patients are surprised. I find the 30-40 yo female to be the most surprise when I reveal to her that she has interproximal caries because she has never had decay before. Then we start asking questions. And I discover all sorts of things that would seem obvious to us as to why the caries happens, but I find myself discussion the decay process more often than I had to in the past…with adults…about their teeth, not their child’s. Caries is alive and well.

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