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Sports Drinks Couple

Beware of Hidden Added Sugar in Sports Drinks

Summer is here and for many people that means spending more time doing what you love outside. Maybe you’re spending less time on the treadmill and more time running outdoors. Maybe your children are involved with summer swim leagues, soccer camps, or running clubs. Regardless of your level of activity, it is important to stay on top of hydration. Of course water is the best sugarless choice—but what if you need a hydration option that also replenishes electrolytes? Sports drinks are often hailed as the premium option during those long soccer games or for post-running fluid replenishment. But some of the most popular sports drinks out there are chocked full of sugar. While they taste good and replenish your electrolytes, the sugar they contain may be compromising your teeth.

Pretty much all advertisements for sports drinks promote the message that they put the “stuff” back in your body that you sweat out. But the amount of sugar the drinks offer along with those electrolytes may surprise you. Just 20 ounces of one very popular drink contains seven teaspoons of sugar. 32 ounces of another popular brand contains a whopping 14 grams of sugar. The amount of hidden sugar we get from sports drinks and soda may be secretly causing softening of your tooth enamel. Recent research from New York University’s College of Dentistry suggests that some of the most common brands of sports drinks can soften the enamel on teeth and contribute to gum erosion. 

When teeth are constantly bathed in sugary drinks, the benefits from the electrolyte reload may not outweigh the risks to our enamel and gums. Also, sports drinks are extremely acidic, and that high concentration of acid can affect the tissues underneath our actual tooth enamel. When sugar (high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup) and acid join forces, that makes our tooth enamel vulnerable. The stakes are doubly high if you have any amount of recession or exposed roots. 

So what can you do? Many experts are suggesting that athletes stick to what is natural. If you exercise vigorously for over one hour, take time to drink plenty of water throughout your activity. Then refuel with a banana, which are full of natural sodium. It may not be as convenient as a sports drink, but the benefits to your teeth are enormous. Additionally, your Watts Family Dentistry team suggests the following if you are going to drink sports beverages:

  • Cut down on the amount of sports drinks you consume.
  • Use a straw when drinking.
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink. Because the drinks contain lots of acid, brushing too early will harm your enamel.
  • Try to swish a little water around in your mouth after you finish a sports drink—this will help rinse your teeth and lightly flush out the acid.

This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental, your friendly Overland Park Dentist. We’re committed to healthy smiles for the whole family. Please call (913) 338-3384 or visit our Overland Park, Kansas office. You may also send an email direct to info@gehafamilydentaloverlandpark.com at any time.

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