Sports drinks come in a wide variety and are extremely common among athletes as well as people who have a consistent workout routine. Some people even drink them daily, simply as a matter of preference. Because these drinks are used to hydrate and are associated with the healthy activity of exercise, they are rarely considered as potentially harmful to your teeth. But the truth is that these drinks can have several adverse side effects on your mouth and teeth. Let’s talk about why this is the case.
- Sports drinks contain sugar. Contrary to popular belief, most sports drinks are packed with sugar. Needless to say, consuming these beverages puts your teeth at greater risk for decay. What’s worse, many people will take frequent sips of these drinks over the course of a long workout, rather than drink them all at one time. Consuming sugary drinks in this manner can actually amplify the destructive effects they have.
- Reduced salivary flow. Not only can sugary drinks dry the mouth, exercising causes dehydration, which reduces salivary flow. When the mouth produces less saliva, it is more vulnerable to tooth decay. Combine this with the fact that sports drinks are assaulting the teeth with sugar, and you have a perfect storm for cavity formation.
- Many sports drinks are highly acidic. Acidity refers to the pH of a substance. At lower pH’s (more acidic), tooth enamel begins to break down. Once enamel is lost, it cannot be regenerated, and teeth with less enamel are more sensitive, more prone to decay, and more likely to fracture.
Needless to say, you may want to reconsider the next time you reach for a sports drink during your next workout. The best alternative, of course, is water. Water is not only the best hydrating liquid; it also contains fluoride if obtained from a tap or public source. This can help keep your teeth strong and cavity-free, as well as feeling cool and refreshed during your workout.