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Posted on: February 16, 2019 at 7:45 am
Last updated: February 22, 2019 at 7:50 am

21-year-old Vinnie Pyner from Margate, Southeast England claims energy drinks have changed his future, and it’s not for the better. His teeth have endured extreme decay, and its thought to be from excessive consumption of Monster Energy Drinks. He started taking the beverage in 2017 because it helped him stay up and alert to study. Unfortunately, he became terribly dependent on it. From downing 6 cans every day to around 45 cans a week, his life literally revolved around the energy drink.

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7 months later, he managed to quit, but the damage had already been done. Vinnie wants to enlighten everyone else out there consuming these beverages without restriction. What happened to him shouldn’t have to have to happen to anyone else.

In a talk with Richard Percival of SWNS, Vinnie says he was drinking so much Monster Energy that his teeth hurt painfully whenever he ate [1].

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“It started as a way to relieve the stress and pressure from my college course because you have to be focused when it comes to computing and coding,” he explained. “But I never thought that it would get this bad, it’s affected my confidence dramatically. I had the ambition to become a games designer but now my hopes have been dashed.

Vinnie is a second-year student of BTEC computing and coding at East Kent College. He says he ensured he brushed his teeth twice a day, but even that couldn’t stop the massive damage caused to him. Nearly all his teeth decayed and rotted so much that he bit into an apple and the worst happened. Four of his front teeth all snapped out of his gums at once.

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The dentist was extremely shocked to see my teeth and she said that it was one of the worst cases of tooth decay and damage that she had ever seen,” Vinnie said.

On why got hooked on the beverage in the first place

With 160mg of caffeine (equal to a regular/medium cup of coffee) and 54g of sugar (of which only 30g is the RDA in the UK), a 500ml can of Monster Energy serves the body up with 240 calories of energy [2]. It’s a strong psychoactive beverage that should be consumed moderately and responsibly. Vinnie said he was often feeling too tired and weak to study, so he started consuming the drink to make up for it. He began to purchase the economy four packs to save money, and this worsened his addiction. When he tried to cut down, he suffered from severe caffeine withdrawal syndrome.

“It started with three a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner so I could stay focused during my studies,” Vinnie said. “I often felt tired and needed the energy drinks desperately. It was value for money and much cheaper than to buy individual cans. But the temptation of having a pack of four and wanting to drink them all at once got hold of me through the caffeine within them. It was like I had to fuel this addiction regularly and if I didn’t, I would suffer from caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as severe headaches and muscle pain.”

Vinnie says his life is completely ruined. Going to school became too much of an embarrassing ordeal for him, so he had to drop out for the meantime. Vinnie is unemployed, and he believes his terrible dental condition will cost him his chances of ever getting a job.

Vinnie’s mom said she never thought it would get this bad

46-year-old Tara Pyner, Vinnie’s mom said she noticed her only child was on the path to major addiction, but she hadn’t imagined this level of damage was possible. Nevertheless, she complained about it to him, but he couldn’t seem to cut down on his intake.

“I started seeing him coming home regularly with multipacks which were the early signs of addiction,” Tara said. “I noticed the habit getting worse and worse as his bedroom bins were always full of the cans. But I never thought that it would get this bad.”

She said she had a serious fit of shock when she saw that four of his front teeth had snapped off, leaving his mouth looking horribly pitiful. Vinnie had tried to hide the damage from her, but she’s his mother. A mother knows and feels.

“It was absolutely shocking. His upper four incisor teeth had completely fallen off and you could see his gum line, it was horrible. Incisors are often the first adult teeth that grow and make up most of our smile, so his smile was completely ruined,” Tara said.

Vinnie said he heard a snapping sound as he ate the apple, but he wasn’t really bothered by it. Not until he swallowed one of his teeth.

“I didn’t think much about it until I swallowed something hard before realizing that my upper four teeth had broken off. I was shocked and at the same time very worried, the damage looked absolutely awful,” Vinnie said. “I couldn’t tell my mom because it was so worried about what she might have said and extremely embarrassed about what she had said. So I was trying not opening my mouth too wide when I was near mom.”

Currently undergoing dental treatment, Vinnie is warning other people to stay away from energy drinks

In September 2017, Vinnie started a dental therapy routine to try to regain his confidence. He’s been told he would need 24 filings for has cavities and dentures for his front teeth, all costing about £2000.

He’s utterly embarrassed about his condition, causing him to spend all his time indoors.

“I can’t do much at all, let alone think about my future,” Vinnie said. “I can’t apply for any jobs because interviewers will take one look at my teeth and say no straightaway. The smile is the first thing you see in a job interview.”

Energy drinks can be very addictive. Depending on the caffeine levels, they should always be consumed in strict moderation. Excessive consumption of these beverages can lead to a caffeine overdose. Possible symptoms include high blood pressure, palpitations, nausea, and convulsions. Excessive consumption of caffeine can also reduce insulin sensitivity, resulting in type 2 diabetes [3]. How much caffeine is too much? Up to 400mg of caffeine appears to be safe for most adults [4]. However, according to the American Pediatrics Association teens and adolescents ages, 12-18 should not consume more 100mg daily [5]. That’s about as much as a small cup of coffee.

Unfortunately, even though Vinnie was brushing twice a day, he still couldn’t control the massive damage the excess sugar did to his teeth. This just reinforces the point that too much of anything, can have negative consequences. Moderation is advised, or in this case, just skip the sugar-laden drinks altogether.

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