Sports Drinks and Dental Health

Published:January 17th, 2012

Image Credit: theage.com.au

If you want to keep your teen hydrated, a sport’s drink is likely to do the trick but how good is it for their teeth as opposed to those sugary colas? As long as these drinks are drunk in moderation, there are a number of different factors that influence whether or not they affect you teen’s teeth. These factors include how they care for teeth and what they eat. There is also a false belief that these drinks are healthier than water and that they improve athletic performance.

Do you Need Sports Drinks?


The truth is that these drinks are not ideal – they can promote tooth decay and the erosion of tooth enamel. They are also really only necessary if the teen is involved in very vigorous, repetitive exercise – under normal sporting circumstances, you will find that the body does not need sports drinks at all.

Damage to Teeth


The potential damage to teeth is not worth the risk of drinking too many of these drinks. It is not only the high sugar content that damages the teeth but also the citric acid. It is the combination of the two that is considered to be the most dangerous. The acid weakens the tooth enamel and makes it easier for the sugar to attack teeth. Although recent research has shown that the relationship is not as strong as previously thought, it would seem that sports drinks are still more erosive than sodas.

Not just Sports Drinks


Before you ban all sports drinks as baddies, you also need to consider that other drinks like coffee and juices can also contain a lot of sugar and so can also erode tooth enamel. You also need to draw a line between energy drinks and sports drinks – the former normally have caffeine in them and so are not suitable for adolescents.

How you Consume them makes a Difference


The damage done by sports drinks can be limited by consuming them in moderation and also monitoring other risk factors – including diet, levels of activity, hygiene and even environmental stressors. It has even been posited that too little saliva can make it more difficult for the enamel to protect the teeth whilst exercising.

Using Sports Drinks Appropriately


There are instances when using sports drinks is worth the risk. Young athletes that engage in intense exercise that have few breaks will need the nutrients and electrolytes that these drinks contain. For normal workouts, however, water and a balanced diet is usually sufficient. If not used appropriately, these drinks can contribute to obesity and the formation of diabetes.

As with any other nutrient dense item, you should keep these drinks away from your teens unless they are involved in activities that warrant their use.


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