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The Truth About Sports Drinks: Are They Harmful to Oral Health?

sports drinksThink about the commercials. Everyone has seen them. Michael Jordan sitting on the bench during a timeout, rehydrating with Gatorade. The buzzer sounds, he comes back in and sinks the game winning shot. More so than many products in our world, sports drinks have created a cultural narrative cementing their role in the peak of human, athletic performance.

While we know that these drinks help replenish the nutrients in your body, they have certain downsides that most people don’t consider. Find out more about sports drinks and what dentists think of them.

The Average Sports Drink

The biggest factor to consider with sports drinks is the sugar content. While most have half the sugar of a Coke, their bottles are typically much larger. This makes it so that you’re consuming about the same amount of sugar with either drink.

Additionally, sports drinks have a high acid content similar to soft drinks, which can cause tooth enamel to degrade. This acid can cause irreversible damage to your enamel when you consume too many of these drinks over time.

However, this doesn’t mean they don’t provide the benefits they say they do. When you exercise heavily, your body loses nutrients and minerals that it needs to survive. The top sports drinks do provide these nutrients at the cost of increased sugar consumption. Dentists believe that, in moderation, these drinks are fine to consume.

Who is Drinking Sports Drinks?

While these drinks market themselves as good for all ages, the target market is adolescents and kids. According to a study by Cardiff University, kids drink 1 to 7 sports drinks per week, which is a significant sugar and acid intake.

While they do help with intense athletic effort and recovery, the moderate to light workouts that younger people tend to get do not benefit from the sugary drinks. At that point, the benefits are outweighed by the harm of drinking these drinks.

The Future of Sports Drinks

The marketing of sports drinks is powerful. As long as kids aspire to be like their athletic idols, they will want to drink the same things they drink, and live a similar lifestyle. To that end, dentists believe that sports drinks can be consumed in moderation just like soft drinks. As long as you keep the amount of drinks down, having one every now and then because you enjoy them or have completed a workout is completely acceptable.

If you have more questions about sugar consumption, sports drinks, or soft drinks, contact your dentist for an appointment and consultation. At Cardinal Family Health, we can provide guidance for you, your kids, or anyone else in your family. Oral health is important and getting into good habits when your kids are young can go a long way towards lifelong oral health.

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