June 22, 2020
Now that it’s finally warm enough to enjoy your time outdoors, staying active has been one of your favorite pastimes. However, when you’re working up a sweat, you will need something to keep you hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids is extremely important for your health, but choosing colorful sports drinks probably isn’t your best option. A 32 oz sports drink contains between 56 and 76 grams of sugar on average which can be destructive for your smile. Continue reading to learn what your dentist has to say about sports drinks and the harmful effects they have on your smile.
How Do Sports Drinks Affect Your Teeth?
When you begin sipping these beverages, the acid of the drink softens your enamel, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria. The large quantity of sugar you’re consuming provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth. Ultimately, the combination of these two ingredients causes enamel erosion, which leads to issues like:
- Teeth yellowing: When your enamel wears away, the dentin in your teeth becomes exposed. This makes your smile have a more yellow appearance.
- Sensitivity: Corroded enamel means that you are likely to have increased temperature and texture sensitivity when you’re eating and drinking certain foods and beverages.
- Cavities: With your enamel being weak and bacteria eating away at your teeth, you’re bound to experience increased tooth decay.
- Chips and cracks: When the protective layer of your tooth is compromised, it’s more likely to become damaged.
- Transparency: The surface of your front teeth may appear to be blue and transparent near the edges.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Teeth from Sports Drinks?
The main drink you can stick to protect your enamel is water. It is the best way to stay hydrated and contains no added sugars. However, if you do have an occasional sports drink, take these steps to help prevent it from damaging your teeth:
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink. If you brush too soon, you can damage your enamel which has been softened by the acid of the beverage. Wait 45 minutes to an hour.
- Rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water afterwards.
- Use a straw to help limit the contact between the beverage and your teeth.
- Always drink them with a meal. This is when your mouth is producing more acid-neutralizing saliva.
What Should I Be Drinking Instead of Sports Drinks?
Water is the best fluid for you to drink. However, if you’re looking to replenish electrolytes after a grueling workout, try some of these tooth-friendly alternatives:
- Watermelon juice: It contains plenty of nutrients including potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C.
- Coconut water: It has no added sugar, offers plenty of wholesome nutrients, and will keep you hydrated.
- Banana: Drinking water and eating a banana is effective at replenishing electrolytes. Bananas contain antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6.
Even though they are colorful and sweet, sports drinks are more harmful to your smile than juice and soda. Drop these beverages this summer and try some of these healthy, tooth-friendly alternatives. Your body and your teeth will feel the benefits!
About the Author
At Purple Plum Dentistry, Dr. Anita Kianimanesh and her team provide comprehensive, personalized treatments to their patients. Dr. Kianimanesh earned her Doctor of Medical Dentistry at Nova Southeastern University School of Dental Medicine. She is a member of numerous professional organizations including the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She works alongside Dr. Nima Moradi Majd, an endodontist. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (703) 998-4244.
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