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Are Sports and Energy Drinks Bad for Your Teeth?
2020 is now in full swing and there’s no denying that more people than ever before are becoming more conscious of living healthier lifestyles, focusing on incorporating better food choices and exercise into their routines and educating our kids to do the same.
No matter what type of physical activity you do, whether it be playing sports, training at the gym, or going for a run, it’s important to stay hydrated and energised to perform your best!
Marketing strategies can easily lure you into a false sense of security: ‘Sports and energy drinks are much healthier than drinking sugar loaded soft drinks’. Don’t be fooled though – these choices are actually causing more harm than good!
Statistics continue to show an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks among children, such as Gatorade, Powerade, Red Bull, V, Rockstar and Monster Energy Drinks. These beverages cause irreversible damage to their teeth, and sugar is only the beginning. High acid levels in these drinks dissolve tooth enamel, the strong outer layer of teeth.
Why are sports and energy drinks bad for you?
Let’s look at what sports and energy drinks are doing to our children’s dental health:
- Tooth enamel is irreversibly lost
- Teeth become sensitive
- Teeth have an increased risk of developing decay
A single sip of these drinks has the potential to drop the pH of saliva down to 2, which is comparable to lemon juice and vinegar. It takes the oral environment 30 minutes from the last sip of an acidic beverage to buffer the saliva back to a normal pH. Sipping on these drinks throughout a game of soccer, netball or a swimming carnival has the potential to bath your child’s teeth in acid for hours.
To put things into perspective, the amount of sugar in one Gatorade Thirst Quencher is 36 grams, that’s equates to 9 teaspoons!
Children, and especially teenagers, are often only concerned with improving short term health and physical performance. The thought of lifelong negative impacts to their dental health may not be given a second thought as they strive for a win for their team or personal best achievement.
How to protect your teeth from negative effects of sports drinks and energy drinks
There are definitely better alternatives to energy drinks to keep you hydrated and feeling your best. Water will always win the gold star for hydration, and should be the go-to during and after physical activity for children. Older teenagers who have more freedom and control over their diet require education and tips to ensure they can make informed decisions. They also need to be aware of the best foods for keeping their teeth healthy.
If they still feel the need to consume energy or sports drinks, alternating with water and chewing sugar free gum (after sport) will neutralise acids, causing less damage to the teeth. Drinking through a straw is also better for your teeth.
Once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot be brought back. Always ensure your children are using an age appropriate, fluoride toothpaste to strengthen the mineral content of their teeth, and don’t forget the importance of flossing your teeth! These are the best ways to look after your kids’ teeth and prevent the need for unnecessary dental treatments further down the track.
Best Dentist on the Gold Coast
Do you need help to improve your oral health and condition of your teeth? Come see us at Oasis Dental Studio for a dental check-up on the Gold Coast. Get in touch with our general dentists and Gold Coast kids’ dentists: