SPORTS DRINKS AND YOUR TEETH
A distinction is often make between “soft” or “fizzy” drinks and “sports” or “energy” drinks. We tend to think that “sports” and “energy” drinks are better for us in some way but that is not necessarily the case. On the plus side they provide fluid for hydration and easily absorbed carbohydrates for rapid energy during exercise. On the negative side they contain very high (even up to the level of soft drinks) amounts of sugars and they are very acidic in their own right.
Acidity levels vary even among brands e.g. Gatorade Blue is more acidic than other Gatorades. In general energy drinks contain more acidity than sports drinks.
Well here’s what! Sugars are converted to acids in the mouth leading to decay. This is especially true when we ‘sip’ drinks over the course of a workout or training session. Also when training we tend to become dehydrated which means less saliva, which is an important defensive weapon against decay by diluting and washing away both the sugars and their resultant acids.
So we can see that we introduce sugars which are turned into decay forming acids precisely at the time when our defences are at their lowest.
But there’s more. Since the drinks themselves are acidic they actually dissolve the teeth, albeit slowly, with time.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
Avoiding “energy” drinks is a good start. If sports drinks are part of your training routine try altering your intake so that you sip water during the session and take a larger drink of the sports drink at the end. Always follow an acidic drink with a good drink of water and never brush your teeth within an hour of taking an acidic drink – of any kind. Remember acidic drinks soften the enamel of the teeth for 30 – 50 minutes after consumption so brushing with an abrasive like toothpaste will do additional damage.
This article Pros and cons of sports drinks; water may be just as beneficial when sweating from State of Michigan University News, discusses sports drinks in relation to; excess weight, healthy teeth, drink ingredients & drink versus water.