Many children and teens think sports drinks will help improve their sports performance and energy levels. After all, these beverages are marketed to replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to perspiration and the carbohydrates burned while exercising. However, many kids drink these beverages even when they’re not participating in physical activity.
While most Hendricks County parents think sports drinks are better than drinking soda, they would be shocked to learn how these beverages can cause irreversible damage to their children’s teeth. Sports drinks contain both sugar and acids which can lead to tooth decay and acid erosion.
Sports Drinks Contain Sugar
One reason sports drinks taste so good is because they contain sugar. Typically, after water, sugar is the second ingredient found in these beverages. How much sugar a sports drink contains depends on the brand and serving size.
- 24-ounce bottle can contain 42 grams of sugar.
- 20-ounce bottle can contain 34 grams of sugar.
- 12-ounce bottle can contain 21 grams of sugar.
The main sugars used in sports drinks are glucose, sucrose, and fructose. All these sugars are harmful to your child’s teeth. After drinking a sports drink, the sugar stays on and between the teeth. The bacteria in your child’s mouth feed on these sugars and produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. If left untreated, your child can develop cavities, gum disease, and, eventually, tooth loss.
Sports Drinks Contain Acids
Most sports drinks have high acidity levels since they typically contain citric acid. While the acidity levels in sports beverages can vary between brands and flavors, these acids are not good for your child’s teeth. In fact, recent studies found that it only takes 15 minutes of acid exposure from sports drinks over five days to erode tooth enamel. Once a tooth’s enamel is gone, it can’t be regenerated. Tooth enamel erosion can lead to cavities, sensitivity, and tooth pain.
How to Limit Tooth Damage Due to Sports Drinks
Over 60% of teens drink at least one sports beverage a day. To help prevent irreversible tooth damage to your children caused by these beverages, Hendricks County parents should:
- Limit your child’s consumption of sports drinks.
- Encourage your child to drink more water.
- Talk to your child about the effects of sports drinks on their teeth.
- If your child is going to consume a sports drink, tell them to sip it through a straw to minimize the sugar and acid exposure to their teeth.
- Tell your child to rinse their mouth with water after drinking a sports beverage. This will increase saliva flow and return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal.
- Tell your child to wait at least an hour before brushing their teeth after consuming a sports drink. This practice will allow the acid levels in the mouth to return to normal.
- Never allow your child to drink a sports beverage before going to bed. The liquid will coat their teeth with sugar and acids and enable tooth erosion to occur over night.
- Encourage your child to brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
- Bring your child to Danville Family Dentistry every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning.
With these tips, you can help your child avoid the tooth damage caused by sports drinks – and ensure their teeth and gums stay healthy.
To schedule an appointment at our Hendricks County office for your child, contact us today. And, if you want, our staff can even talk to your child about the dangers of consuming sports drinks at their next visit. Just let us know!
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.