| 09/16/13

Our dental patients are concerned about their overall health in addition to the health of their smile. Many patients we see are athletes of some kind, whether it’s school related, recreational or professional. Athletes are concerned with staying hydrated during their sport as well as when they train, and sports drinks are the constant companion of these thirsty athletes.

Sports drinks cause worse damage to your teeth than soda does.

Little do most athletes know, but sports drinks consumed on a frequent basis will predispose you to a higher rate of tooth decay. In fact, the damage that sports drinks cause is even worse than that caused by drinking soda.

The acidic content, natural or artificial sweeteners will coat all of the surfaces of the teeth each time a drink is taken. These are then processed for digestion, creating an acid byproduct in our mouths that contributes to tooth decay. Most of the time, sports drinks are sipped on over a long period of time, constantly exposing the teeth to ingredients that lower the pH in your mouth.

Very healthy patients that consume sports drinks may have the worst dental decay.

A study performed on triathletes showed that while they all considered themselves at a low risk for developing cavities, the majority of them drank sports drinks and had an exceptionally high risk for developing decay.  While trying to stay at their physical peak, athletes, their parents, or their trainers are inadvertently placing them in a position that encourages tooth decay.

What’s the answer?

It’s not absolutely necessary to give up all sports drinks altogether, but it is important that their consumption be limited. Try drinking all of it at once and then rinsing your mouth out with water, to decrease the acid exposure. Instead of grabbing a sports drink for every workout or game, bring a refillable water bottle. Believe it or not, water rehydrates just as well as sports drinks do. Encourage your athlete to pay attention to their dental health risks that they didn’t know they were susceptible to.

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