How Sports Drinks Affect Your Dental Health

Popular sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade might taste great, but these beverages are not good for your dental health. In most cases, sports drinks aren’t particularly great for your overall health, with links to obesity and other health concerns.

Here are some things to consider about how sports drinks negatively impact your dental health.

Sugar Feeds Bacteria

Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. As you drink more sugary drinks, including sports drinks, the sugar found in the beverages feed the bacteria in your mouth. This can lead to more advanced teeth decay and oral health problems.

While it is true that many sodas contain higher amounts of refined sugar than some sports drinks, both types of drinks have enough sugar to be problematic.

Sugar is also bad for your overall health. It causes inflammation, which could put you more at risk for gingivitis and gum disease. It is generally a good idea to try to limit sugar consumption as much as you can to promote health.

Acid Damage

Sports drinks are fairly acidic. Many of these drinks contain citric acid, which acts as a preservative to help keep the beverage fresh on the shelves. Unfortunately, citric acid can wear down your teeth’s enamel, making them more prone to tooth decay and sensitivity.

Brushing your teeth right away to try to prevent the damage may backfire. It is best to wait at least an hour after eating an acidic food before brushing your teeth for the most effective clean.

Drink More Water

One of the biggest problems when it comes to sports drink consumption is that for every sugary and acidic sports drink you consume, you drink less water. This means that you’ll consume more calories and forfeit water’s ability to rinse your mouth. Dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Plus, tap water is fluoridated. If you only consume bottled beverages, you won’t have access to fluoridated water.

What You Can Do

Ideally, patients should stop drinking sports drinks and choose to drink water instead. Most children’s recreational activities and adult gym sessions do not cause you to lose enough in sweat to justify the use of sports drinks.

If you love drinking sports drinks and won’t stop enjoying them, try to limit how many sports drinks you consume and drink water after you finish off the bottle of Gatorade or Powerade.

It is probably unrealistic for everyone who loves sports drinks to just stop buying them. However, the risk to your oral health is enough to at least be mindful of their consumption. This applies for soda and fruit juices, too.

 

*This is an abridged version of an article from Dental Associates.

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