Energy and sports drinks taste great and are a common way to refuel and rehydrate after working out. However, research has shown that these drinks are high in sugar and acid, which means they can wear down your teeth and leave you more vulnerable to cavities and other dental problems. Your dentist recommends skipping these drinks and hydrating with water instead. Let’s talk about what sports and energy drinks can do to your teeth.
What Do Energy and Sports Drinks Do to Your Teeth?
A recent study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found the most 4 common dental problems among athletes who frequently ingested sports drinks were:
- Tooth decay. Decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth create acid that leaves holes, or cavities, in your tooth enamel.
- Gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums that causes inflammation and pain. It is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque, called tartar, between the teeth and along the gumline.
- Erosion of tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard outer surface of your teeth. Erosion occurs when acid from food or bacteria wears away at this layer.
- Infected wisdom teeth. When a wisdom tooth is only partially erupted, it creates a flap of gum tissue where food can get trapped. This area can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Because sports and energy drinks are high in sugar and acid, they can wear away at the teeth very easily. In addition, athletes often sip on these drinks dozens of times a day, exposing the teeth to these harmful elements over and over again.
Another reason athletes contract dental problems is dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your mouth does not produce very much saliva. Saliva is important because it washes away bits of food left on the teeth that can attract bacteria. Saliva also adds calcium and phosphate to the teeth to protect them against decay. Without enough water in your system, your teeth do not get this protection from saliva.
How Can I Take Good Care of My Oral Health?
There are a few ways to make sure your teeth and gums are in good shape, such as:
- Hydrate with water instead of energy drinks.
- If you’re going to consume sports drinks, use a straw. This allows the drink to bypass your teeth and minimize damage.
- Wear a mouthguard during sports to protect against injury.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once daily.
- Visit your dentist at least every six months for a checkup.
Now that you know the risks associated with sports and energy drinks, hopefully you make the decision to switch to water. Whether you’re an athlete or not, it can never hurt to take better care of your teeth.
About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Brong has been trained in dental implants from the Dental Implant Institute in Chicago and in laser dentistry from the University of California San Francisco, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 2012. He strives to make every patient in the Rochester, MN area feel like family. To learn more about how to protect your teeth from decay, click here or call (507)-288-1066.