Why Sports Drinks Put Teeth At Risk

 

Oral_HealthFor some sports-minded folks, a bottle of a sports beverage is as common a sight in their gym bag as their workout gear. But while many users consume sports drinks because they believe they are improving their athletic performance or avoiding the dangers of dehydration, they may be unaware of the potential these types of drinks have to damage their oral health.

While the impact of sports beverages on oral health is highly individualized and dependent on a host of variables, here are some facts to consider.

Sports Drinks and Your Oral Health

  • High acid content sets the stage for damage. Many drinks come in fruit flavors and that taste is enhanced by the addition of citric acid, which can erode tooth enamel.
  • Sugar adds insult to injury. The sugar in some drinks (which can be equal to or greater than that in a similar sized can of soda pop) can encourage the formation of bacterial plaque and accelerate tooth decay.
  • Artificial sweeteners cause damage too. If you’re trying to cut calories and drink a sports beverage with a non-sugar-based sweetener, your oral health can still be at risk. Certain types of sweeteners, especially a type of sugar alcohol known as sorbitol, can promote bacteria growth in the mouth, although its chemical cousin xylitol does not. Also, many sugar-free sports still contain citric acid and can erode tooth enamel.
  • Water goes by the wayside. Another worrisome side effect of sports drink consumption relates to whether athletes rely on these sorts of liquids for a majority of their hydration needs, squeezing out the drinking of plain unflavored water, which can flush the mouth of debris and restore a healthier pH level to the mouth, in addition to preventing the negative effects of dry mouth due to dehydration.

If you drink sports beverages to rehydrate during your workout, you can minimize any potential damage by drinking them through a straw and by swishing water in your mouth afterward.

“Sports drinks can have their place in your workout routine if you enjoy them, but it’s important to take proactive steps to ensure they don’t threaten your oral health,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix.

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