Athletes often hydrate with sports beverages during exercise and busy people like the caffeine kick of energy drinks. While the health value of these beverages is debatable, research shows both sports and energy drinks can have a negative impact on your oral health.
The danger in most sports and energy drinks isn’t just sugar; these beverages also contain a significant amount of acid that can harm tooth enamel.
Sports Drinks and Dental Health
Whether you are an athlete, a weekend warrior, or the parent of a sporty child, you have probably been exposed to energy drinks. Rich in carbohydrates and minerals, they are designed to replace electrolytes and water lost through sweat. If you sip these beverages for a prolonged period and breathe through your mouth from exertion, the combination of air, acid, and sugar creates an ideal environment for tooth decay.
Energy Drinks and Your Teeth
These drinks usually contain stimulants like caffeine and guarana along with minerals, vitamins, and protein. Whatever the content, these beverages often contain sugar and acids that can harm teeth.
Are Sugar-Free Power Drinks Better?
Unfortunately, beverages without sugar can still contain phosphoric and citric acids that weaken tooth enamel. This leaves teeth more susceptible to decay and bacteria invasion.
The best substitute for high-octane sports drinks is plain water. A study from Melbourne University in Australia found that H20 can actually harden tooth enamel. Always rinse your mouth with water after drinking sports beverages. Coffee and tea, while acidic, are a better substitute for energy drinks.
What to Do After Drinking Sports and Energy Beverages
After what you have learned, you might be tempted to keep a toothbrush handy and whip it out each time you drink sports or energy beverages. However, research shows that rinsing with water is better than brushing, at least for a few minutes after drinking a sugary, acidic substance.
A substitute for rinsing while on the go is chewing sugarless gum, especially the type that contains the enamel-friendly sweetener xylitol. Chew for about 20 minutes after consuming a sugary, acidic beverage. It stimulates saliva, which is nature’s way of rinsing bacteria and acids from the mouth. Finally, don’t sip your drinks all day, as this continually bathes your teeth in acid and sugar.
Sports and energy drinks can lead to tooth and jawbone loss in a way that is preventable. If you do suffer dental problems that require oral surgery, get a referral to our office or make an appointment.