Sports drinks have long reigned as the most widely drank substance for sports players and athletes. Filled with nutritious electrolytes, it’s considered the perfect means of rehydrating after a long day on the field or at the gym. But how beneficial is it to your teeth? Studies show sports drinks, despite the good they can do for your system, can actually prove quite harmful to your oral health. Read on to learn how sports drinks impact your dental preventative care.
Sports Drinks Can Be Damaging
Very rarely do athletes take one swig of their sports drink of choice and stop there. Many go through at least one or two bottles of the stuff throughout one game—a fact that sends many preventative dentistry experts cringing! While sports drinks are commonly appreciated for their electrolytes, most people neglect or simply don’t realize the more harmful ingredients sports drinks contain, such as sugar and acid. Sugar is known for helping cavities to develop, while acid can erode tooth enamel.
What Does This Mean for Dental Health?
If you’re a frequent consumer of sports drinks, the damage you’re doing to your teeth could someday prove irreversible. We don’t say this to scare you, but simply to inform you of the risks. Both acid and sugar increase your teeth’s susceptibility to cavities. Weakened dental enamel—a frequent side effect of acidic food and drink consumption—makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate the teeth and breed cavities. They will also become less resistant to temperature. This will make it harder for you to consume cold and/or hot food and drinks. In severe cases, any contact whatsoever with your teeth may cause discomfort or pain. However, you can easily stave off these conditions with regular preventative dental care.
What You Can Do
Luckily, you don’t have to cut out sports drinks entirely if they’ve become a staple of your athletic routine. To help protect your teeth from the harmful effects of sports drinks, we first recommend carrying sugar-free gum around with you. You can chew a piece after drinking to nullify the acid and sugar. Similarly, you can take a sip of water and swish it around for a few seconds. While your instincts may be to brush immediately after having a sports drink, this can actually do more harm than good. Your toothbrush could just spread the sugar and other ingredients around your teeth, exacerbating the problem.
If you’re interested in how else your dietary habits affect your oral health, or have questions about any other dental topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!