Are Sport drinks affecting your oral health?

Sports drinks are becoming an indispensable part of playing sports and physical activity for people. Keeping ones body fit and healthy is crucial for an athlete, as successful performance demands training and eating a healthy diet and keeping hydrated. At the same time maintaining good oral health is as important as strengthening the body for optimum athletic performance. Sports drinks have been designed to help professional athletes to recover from their intense athletic activities. Even though consuming sports drinks may help you improve your performance but it is really important to weigh the risks your taking to your oral health.

Tooth decay is on the rise in kids as young as preschoolers. Frequency of taking these drinks is increasing as people prefer to buy sports drinks instead of water to hydrate. Here are some crucial facts about sports drinks affecting your teeth: causing tooth decay and cavities, gum-disease and enamel erosion.

Are sports drinks causing dental erosion?

Some of the facts that contribute to tooth decay:

  • Acidity levels in the sports drink

  • sugar content

  • Frequency of consuming sports drinks

  • Decreased salivary flow when dehydrated

Signs of Dental erosion from sports drinks:

  • Loss of the surface of the tooth leading to thin enamel, especially on the edges of the front teeth – often causing chipping.

  • Signs of dental erosion on the back teeth include the formation of depressions on the biting surface of the teeth.

  • Fillings may start to become more prominent if the surrounding tooth surface is dissolving away due to erosion.

How to minimise dental erosion?

Better way to stay hydrated when you are sweating out in the field or in the gym:

  • Drink water! Its free! Straight out of the tap! It also comes packed with fluoride that is proven to protect your teeth and reduce decay and you don’t have to read any labels:)

  • Always read labels when your buying any type of sports drink – check for sugar, acidity. Once you understand the labels on food and drinks, you will be able to better look after your teeth and gums.

  • Foods rich in calcium and phosphate (like milk, cheese and yoghurt) can help to remineralise the tooth surface.

  • Specialised dental products such as neutralizing products, fluoride varnishes, gels or rinses, remineralising agents such as CPP-ACP added to chewing gum, lozenges, mouthwashes can help to remineralise tooth surfaces.

  • Bicarbonate and calcium can also be added to drinks to reduce their erosive potential but may also affect the taste and palatability.

Tips to reduce tooth decay from sports drinks:

  • Drinking with straw reduces contact with teeth.

  • Rinse your mouth with water not sports drinks.

  • Avoid holding or swooshing acidic drinks in your mouth for longer periods of time.

  • Avoid dehydration, drink water regularly while training.

  • Delay teeth brushing after consuming acidic drinks for 60 minutes.

  • Use appropriate amount of water while making sports drinks. Less water then specified will increase the concentration of sugar which can damage your teeth.

Regular dental preventative appointments can help detect early sign of tooth decay and allow steps to avoid it.

Satvir Kaur