Sports drinks are undoubtedly popular as a way to “hydrate” young athletes during practices and games. In fact, studies show that over half of the adolescent population consume a sports drink every day! However, before you pack one of these “thirst quenchers” in your child’s sports bag, you should know the dangers it can bring to their smile. Not only do sports drinks fail to hydrate like water, but they can wreak havoc on your teeth when consumed on a regular basis.
The Three “Overloads” of Sports Drinks
When it comes to the average sports drink, it is known to contain loads of sugar, acids and sodium. Here’s what this concerning combo means for your teeth and body:
Did you know that sports drinks often have more sugar than the leading sodas? Not only is sugar bad for a young athlete’s growing body, but it gives bacteria the fuel it needs to cause cavities along their pearly whites.
You may not consider a sports drink as a highly acidic beverage, but it certainly is. When high amounts of sugar combine with an acidic oral environment, there is likely to be enamel erosion. Your tooth enamel (outer protective layer) is incredibly strong, but it weakens and erodes when bathed in acids. When consumed in sips throughout a practice or game, the damage can be even more severe.
The sports drink you are handing your child after a big game may have as much sodium as a bag of potato chips! While sodium isn’t a threat to your child’s teeth, it doesn’t do their body any favors. Sodium can play hydration tricks on the body, which is concerning since hydration is critical during sports.
Why Water is Preferred by Your Body and Teeth
For trusted and quicker hydration, plain water is always best. In fact, water is best for your child’s teeth too. Water rinses away harmful acids and sugars as well as delivers important fluoride to strengthen and protect their smile along the way. The American Council on Exercise recommends that people consume 7 – 10 ounces of water every 10 – 20 minutes of exercise, depending upon how much your young athlete sweats.
For more tips on fostering healthy smiles in your household, call West Hill Family Dental. We proudly offer comprehensive dental care for all stages of life!