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Three Ways Sports Drink Damage Your Children’s Teeth

Summertime is one way, which means many outdoor activities, including sports, swimming, and more. During all this activity during the day’s heat, keeping them hydrated is critical. One standard “solution” many parents turn to is sports drinks. Sports drinks are an effective way to keep hydrated and frequently target athletes in their marketing. However, they are often high in sugar, high in acid, and loaded with salt. None of these are significant for your health, but sugar and acid tend to be troublesome for oral health. Many parents wonder if sports drinks remain an acceptable solution for hydration during summer and how to protect their children from the risks. Smiling Kids Pediatric Dentistry, Noblesville, put together this guide to help you determine if sports drinks are the right choice for you.

The Benefits Of Sports Drinks And The Risks To Your Oral Health

Sports drinks have a lot of benefits when it comes to staying hydrated. They’re loaded with sugar for energy and electrolytes for replacing salts lost through sweating. Combined with the water content, these can be very effective at restoring hydration while being active in the summer. However, the sugar and the citric acid commonly used to add flavor pose a significant risk to oral health. Sugar provides an excellent food source for streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Like any acid, citric acid softens the enamel and renders it susceptible to abrasion and decay. 

When tooth enamel is weakened by bacterial activity and decay, the following may occur:

  • Tissue damage to the tissues beneath the enamel
  • Permanent damage to the enamel as it decays or is worn away
  • Heightened risk of dental staining
  • Accelerated plaque and tartar development due to sugars

So if all these risks exist with sports drinks, is it worth drinking them for their hydration benefits? While the right answer is up to you, there are steps you can take to protect your teeth from the damage sports drinks can cause. One way to avoid the risks is to ensure your child drinks the beverage in one sitting rather than sipping it over time. This limits the exposure their teeth have to the risky contents of the drink. Further, you can have them rinse their mouth after finishing their drink to reduce the sugar and acid left on their teeth.

Additional preventative steps you can take include:

  • Straws can limit the contact their teeth have with the acids and sugars within the drink.
  • Some sports drinks are low in sugar and acid and are better choices
  • Avoid rinsing mouthguards with sports drinks
  • Wait 45 minutes after drinking a sports drink to brush. This will allow the enamel to harden again.

Contact Smiling Kids Pediatric Dentistry Noblesville For More Information

The most effective step you can take to protect your children’s teeth while using sports drinks for hydration is only to use these drinks for that purpose. Sports drinks are intended to restore hydration and electrolytes during athletic activity and can have notable health impacts if overconsumed. Learn more about oral health and safe ways to keep hydrated during the busy months of summer by calling for an appointment today at (317) 773-5437.