Sports drinks have been on a market for decades. They started as a way to help athletes re-hydrate after robust exercise, but later they’ve gone mainstream. Nowadays you can find them side by side with sodas and fruit juices on grocery store shelves and at restaurants. According to Academy of General Dentistry, 62 percent of U.S. teens consume at least one sport drink a day. It’s tempting to choose one over a soda because it’s common to think it’s better for you. But it’s not true. Let’s take a closer look on positive and negative effect of sports drinks on your child’ body.
The Pros of Sports Drinks:
- Sports drinks can help replenish the water and other important minerals kids lose when they sweat. And one of the main things you lose when you sweat are electrolytes.
- Electrolytes help the muscles and nerves in the body stay balanced and work optimally.
- Too few electrolytes in teens body can lead to dehydration, nerve spasms, and cause body’ cramps .
- Sports drinks often contain the seven most common types of electrolytes that are vital to the body: Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphate, Bicarbonate. While replacing these chemicals can be helpful, there are other elements in the sports drink that aren’t so good for children’s oral health.
Sport’s Drinks Cons:
- When tested in the lab, results showed that sports drinks contain very high level of sugar and acids, which can lead to cavities.
- Further studies found that sports drinks can be so acidic, they can corrode tooth enamel down to the dentin, which is the layer beneath enamel.
- The acid in sports drinks makes teeth more vulnerable to bacteria, which feeds off the excess sugar in these drinks.
- Bacteria can then sneak into the cracks of tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
- Untreated tooth decay can lead to cavities, gum disease or even periodontal disease.
- The softening of tooth dentin also makes teeth more susceptible to stains — from both the bright colored dye in sports drinks and other staining drinks like tea.
- And when tooth enamel becomes thin and fragile, teeth can become sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
- They can increase the risk of overweight and obesity.
What can you do protect your child’ teeth from negative effect of sports drinks? Remind them to:
- Sip slowly to let saliva neutralize the acid of the drink.
- Rinse their teeth with plain water or mouthwash once you’re finished.
- Chew sugar-free gum.
- Wait 30 minutes before brushing the teeth — this keeps from spreading the acid across their teeth and increasing their chance of tooth decay.
- Use a straw if possible to keep the sports drink from coming into contact with their teeth.
Another option – tell them to consume healthier alternatives of sports drinks:
Bananas, watermelon juice and coconut water have all been identified as lower-sugar substitutions to sports drinks. These drinks and snacks help re-hydrate muscles and decrease risk of soreness the next day, without the acid and supplemental sugar of sports drinks. And, of course, water is the most natural and healthy drink for your child’s oral health, nerves system and muscles.
If you any questions about effect of sport drinks on your child’s teeth, please give a call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lisi: 972-727-0011. Specialists at Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Allen will be happy to help you!