Sports drinks can be a nice refreshing way to replenish your energy after a game. They taste great and get your energy up quickly. They might be good for your body, but how do they affect your teeth? A dentist says that sports and energy drinks can be detrimental to your oral health. Keep on reading to learn why.
How Do Sports Drinks Hurt Athletes’ Teeth?
When you frequently consume sports and energy drinks, your teeth are bathed in sugar and acid. The acid wears down the enamel, or the outer layer of your teeth, and exposes the sensitive layer of dentin underneath. The sugar attracts bacteria in the form of plaque. Bacteria create acid that make holes, or cavities, in your enamel. They can also cause an infection in your gum tissue. This is called gum disease, and it has been linked to other health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
What Are the Signs of Bad Oral Health?
Contact your dentist if you experience any of the following signs of tooth decay or enamel erosion:
- Sharp pain when drinking something hot, cold, or sweet
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when biting down
- Brown or black staining on one or more teeth
- Chipping in one or more teeth
Does Bad Dental Health Affect Athletic Performance?
Believe it or not, your oral health can impact the way you perform on the field. Unfortunately, many athletes have a poor understanding of dental health, which is contributing to a recent rise in bad oral health among athletes. Research has shown that athletes with poor oral health are more likely to have difficulties eating and sleeping, chronic inflammation, and pain, which all affect overall athletic performance.
How Can I Promote Good Oral Health?
There are many ways to keep your oral health in check, such as:
- Hydrate with water instead of sports or energy drinks.
- If you’re going to drink a sugary or acidic beverage, use a straw. The drink will bypass your teeth, lowering your risk of decay.
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. Don’t brush right after eating or drinking something sugary or acidic, though; wait at least 30 minutes.
- Floss every day.
- Use mouthwash to re-mineralize the teeth and strengthen your enamel.
- Visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and a checkup to make sure your oral health is alright.
If you’re an athlete, staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do. Just be sure to do it with water instead of energy drinks to maintain good oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Karl Arakelian graduated with his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania more than 30 years ago. Since then, he has accrued more than one thousand hours of continuing education courses, including some from SPEAR Education Study Club. He is an active member of the Massachusetts Dental Association. To learn more about how to take care of your oral health, contact him at (978-373-0901.