Since a young age, you’ve probably relied on popular sports drinks (like Gatorade and Powerade) to quench your thirst and refuel your body after hard play. While the electrolytes and hydration of sports drinks can help your body recover after heavy sweating, these drinks can be a poor choice for your teeth. Both sports and energy drinks can cause irreversible tooth damage due to the high amounts of acid and sugars these beverages contain.
Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease. This shouldn’t be a surprise when 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.
Did you know that energy and sports drinks contain so much acid that they begin destroying teeth after only five days of consistent use? If you choose to sip on these beverages throughout the day, the danger only increases. You’re essentially bathing your pearly whites in the two harmful substances (acids and sugars) that cause enamel erosion and cavities.
When the outer layer of your teeth (enamel) erode, they become extra vulnerable to decay. They may also become sensitive and look more dingy or yellow. The inner dentin layer of the teeth may show through more, and this layer isn’t as white as enamel. Sadly, once the enamel has eroded, it can’t grow back on its own!
At Family Smiles Dental, we recommend hydrating yourself and your kids with good, old-fashioned water. But if you still prefer an occasional sports drink or energy drink, we suggest drinking water afterwards to rinse away the acids and sugars that want to linger on your teeth and cause damage. While brushing your teeth is always a good idea, it is best to wait 30 minutes after you’ve finished a highly acidic beverage, as this can cause more harm than good. Waiting can allow the acids to neutralize before picking up your toothbrush.
For more tips on how to care for your smile when you’re away from our office, please call Family Smiles Dental in Dallas.
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