If you are like most parents, you don’t hesitate to let your child rehydrate with a cold sports drink after a hard practice. However, if you want to protect their dental health, you may want to rethink that drink. Sports and energy drinks can certainly replenish lost electrolytes in the body but they are also known for causing irreversible tooth damage. The culprits for such havoc is the acid and sugars these beverages contain, and you don’t have to overdose on sports drinks to reap its consequences. A recent study published in General Dentistry states that energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they begin destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use.
The high acidity levels in sports drinks erode tooth enamel and make the teeth vulnerable to decay. Children and teens may also experience tooth sensitivity and staining. Once the enamel has eroded, it can’t grow back – making the dental damage from sports drinks an irreversible condition.
How to Lessen the Damage
If you can’t eliminate this beverage altogether, there are some steps you can follow to reduce the likelihood of damage. For example, follow your sports drink with a good rinse of water or chew a piece of sugarless gum. This helps to remove or neutralize the acids on your teeth before they try to attack. You can certainly go for your toothbrush after you finish your drink, but you’ll need to wait about 30 to 45 minutes before scrubbing, as the acids make your teeth more vulnerable to wear from the abrasives of your toothpaste.
Replacing your child’s sports drink with bottle of water could be one of the most significant steps you take towards preventing tooth decay. Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease. This comes to no surprise considering that the Academy of General Dentistry estimates that 30-50% of U.S. teenagers consume energy drinks and as many as 62 percent consume at least one sports drink per day. If you notice signs of enamel erosion on your child or teenager’s teeth, please give us a call at Gilreath Family Dental. We provide full-service pediatric dentistry, allowing your child to experience state-of-the-art dental care in a positive and soothing environment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,