Do you have active kids or maybe children that play sports? Then this information is definitely for you. As important as it is for your children to stay properly hydrated when engaging in sports or other strenuous activity, it is just as important to understand the dental health risks associated with “sports drinks.” An article in General Dentistry magazine noted that “an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth, specifically the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.” We care about our patients too much not to talk about this and make you aware of it as a parent.
According to the article, kids equate sports drinks with improved performance, thinking that the drinks are “better for them than soda” when in fact, researchers found that exposure to sports drinks caused damage to the enamel of a human tooth in as little as five (5) days! Today’s savvy consumers are more health conscious about the sugar levels of drinks but I’m sure that very few realized that acidity would be the culprit to cause tooth damage.
Should you, then, stop your children from drinking sports drinks entirely? Why not? Water is the ideal source of hydration. The reality is that you might not and we understand. However, if your child continues to drink sports drinks we highly recommend the following to reduce the potential damage to your child's tooth enamel:
- Drink in moderation
- Rinse with water soon after drinking
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Brush within an hour after consuming sports drinks
There are risks and rewards associated with every action. Brush and floss like your teeth were meant to last a lifetime …. and they will.