Sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices have a bad reputation for causing a range of health problems. Not only are these drinks linked to problems with obesity, but they are also known to contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately, sodas and juices aren’t the only sugar-filled drink that can cause a significant amount of damage to your smile. Most patients forget that sports drinks also have a ton of additive sugar that can impact your oral health.
Sports drinks have become increasingly popular, especially among our young patients here in Los Altos and the greater Bay Area of California. These drinks are meant for athletes because they contain electrolytes to help you replenish your electrolyte levels while keeping you hydrated. Although there are some positives to drinking these sports drinks, there are also various negative effects that can harm your oral health. Whether you have all of your natural teeth or dental implants, we believe it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of sports drinks. To explain more on this subject, dental implant providers, Drs. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane share more about the potential dangers of drinking sports drinks.
The Rising Popularity of Sports Drinks
Sports drinks have been around for decades but they really seemed to take off in the early 90s. The “Be Like Mike” campaign from Gatorade made this sports drink skyrocket in popularity and this company continues to gain more and more loyal customers. Gatorade was invented for the University of Florida Gators and is believed to help enhance workouts for athletes.
So, is there any truth to the enhancing abilities of sports drinks? There are some benefits to drinking sports drinks because of the sodium in them. Sodium can be helpful because it helps the body hold onto water to get fluid in the right areas of the body. Athletes also find it easier to sip on sports drinks during tough workouts because of the flavor. Many sports drinks help address the primary concerns of tough workouts including loss of body fluids, drop in blood sugar levels, and depletion of muscle carbohydrate stores.
Oral Health Effects of Sports Drinks
For athletes, we understand how important it is to keep up your bodily health for athletic performance. Sports drinks can be a great additional tool for athletes, but it’s important to be aware of how these beverages can harm your smile. One of the main ingredients that can harm your smile is the additive sugar. It’s important to look at the nutrition label of your sports drink because many of these beverages contain as much sugar as a soda. Bacteria already present in your mouth will use sugar from sports drinks to create an acid that wears away at your tooth enamel. Athletes who drink sports drinks with citric acid or malic acid are even more at risk for dental erosion and tooth decay because the acids weaken and break down the enamel and dentin of the teeth.
A recent study from Cardiff University School of Dentistry looked at the effects of sports drinks for children and found some alarming results. Researchers looked at 160 children in four different schools and found that a majority of participants purchased sports drinks because of their price and taste. Their sweet taste and low price along with parents being unaware of their harmful effects makes sports drinks especially dangerous.
Both children and athletes should be aware of the harmful effects of sports drinks and consume them sparingly. If you plan to consume sports drinks, we recommend the following tips:
- Check the nutrition label and choose drinks with low sugar
- Drink water in between sips of your sports drink to wash away excess sugar
- Dilute your sports drink down with water
Contact our Office in Los Altos
Sports drinks can cause more damage to your oral health than you might think. We recommend avoiding sports drinks whenever possible to protect your smile. If you’re currently dealing with severe oral health problems like tooth loss, dental implants can help restore your smile. Are you ready to start your dental implant treatment? Contact our office today to schedule your no-obligation consultation with Dr. Field, Hartley, and McFarlane.