Dr Tim Hart BDS

Care • Comfort • Experience

Impact of Energy / Sports Drinks on Children's Teeth

What Impact are Sports and Energy Drinks Having on My Children's Teeth?

What Impact are Sports and Energy Drinks Having on My Children's Teeth?

Winter sports season is over and the summer season is just beginning. You may have discovered there is a bit of a culture at your child’s sports club of kids having sports or energy drinks before or after a game. But do you know how these drinks may be affecting your child’s teeth?

We want to help you with you make the healthiest choices for your children’s teeth. Keep reading below to learn all about sports drinks. Choosing another option at the end of the game might make your children’s dental care journey a smoother one.

There are quite a few positive reasons why parents or sportspeople may choose to use sports drinks.

  • Sports drinks tend to be high in quite a number of muscle and tissue replenishing minerals and of course water.
  • Electrolytes help your muscles and nerves stay balanced and run better. Intense physical activity can cause you to lose electrolytes through sweating.

When your body has too few electrolytes in your system the results can be dehydration, nerve spasms and muscle cramps.

Here’s the good stuff:

  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphate
  • Bicarbonate

Unfortunately for the sake of the health of your teeth, that’s where the good stuff ends.

Here’s why sports drinks shouldn’t be used.

Lab tested sports and energy drinks have shown a high level of sugar and acids. Acids work to corrode enamel and can work its way all the way down to the dentin beneath. The sugar then helps bacteria in your mouth to thrive.

This is terrible news for yours or your children’s dental care as tooth enamel is the hardest surface to crack in your body.

What does this mean?

The high acid in sports drinks makes your teeth more vulnerable to the bacteria in your mouth accessing your tooth enamel as it feeds off the high sugar content of the drink. As the tooth enamel is corroded, bacteria sneaks in to cause decay.

Untreated decay can lead to cavities and gum disease.

With continual consumption of high acid and sugar drinks the softening of the dentin can occur. This causes teeth to be more susceptible to staining. The brightly coloured dyes in those sports drinks become a problem, and so too does coffee, tea and that good red wine that was opened last night.

Along with staining, the corrosion of tooth enamel can cause sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. There’s nothing more disappointing than not being able to enjoy that ice cream cone on a hot day!

Protecting your teeth

If you want to continue to use sports drinks as your main avenue for rehydration and mineral replacement there may be some ways you can protect your teeth.

  1. Sip slowly – if you give it enough time your saliva can help to neutralize the acid.
  2. Enjoy in moderation. – Like all vices they can be enjoyed in small doses.
  3. Rinse with plain water or mouthwash after drinking.
  4. Wait 30 mins before brushing your teeth. The acid will be neutralized and won’t be spread over your teeth.
  5. Use a straw. – If you can keep the drink from contacting the teeth there will be less chance for the acid to do its thing.

Alternatives

There ARE other options!!

These options can help keep you hydrated and replenish important chemicals in your body. And they’re healthy!!

Bananas, Watermelon and coconut water have all been proven to achieve a similar result to sugary, acidic sports drinks.

They rehydrate the muscles and decrease the risk of next day soreness without the risk to your teeth.

Best of all – drink lots of water – there really is nothing better than good old H2O.

If you need help with your children’s dental care we can help! Contact the friendly team at Chatswood Dental Care.

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