Common medical questions and answers through blogs and articles

Are Sports Drinks Harmful for Your Teeth?

Walking through the drink aisle at the grocery store might draw your eyes to the 6 pack of mini sports drinks for $10. It’s even more appealing if you’re still holding on to your New Year’s resolution of going to the gym. There has been a lot of buzz about electrolytes and other benefits to drinking sports drinks. We have been over saturated with commercials of major league athletes drinking these drinks.

Have you stopped to ask if they actually do the trick? After all, if my favorite sports teams can win the game from drinking them, maybe I should give them a try. There are a few things about sports drinks you need to know before you buy.

Intent Behind Sports Drinks

Counter to what people might think, sodium plays a big role in rehydration. Sports drinks have sodium because when the body sweats sodium needs replaced. Sodium is also supposed to help muscle cramps. These drinks might also provide needed carbohydrates that give a boost of energy. The other important fact to know is that sports drinks were intended for an exercise session lasting longer than 2 hours. If you are drinking them when there is low physical activity this could have an adverse effect.

How Do Sports Drinks Impact Dental Health?

Top dentists recommend drinking water with sports drinks to help dilute the sodium and potassium. It’s recommended that you only drink sports drinks when exercising because any other time they are usually not helpful. There are studies that prove that the mouth becomes too acidic when you consume 2-3, 16 ounce bottles of sports drinks. The saliva in your mouth struggles to neutralize when the acidity levels change. If you were to brush your teeth even a couple of hours after drinking a sports drink you could damage the softened enamel. The best practice would be to drink what with your sports drink.

What Do Sports Drinks Contain?

Not every sports drink has the same ingredients, but for the most part they include electrolytes. What is an electrolyte? They are minerals that help repair your body. Here are a few minerals that make up the composition on an electrolyte.

  • Bicarbonate
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphate
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfate

These are known compounds that help the body replenish after a strenuous day of activity.

Negative Effects to Sports Drinks

Sports drinks can be bad if you drink them frequently. Like most things, you should enjoy them in moderation. Aside from the dental issues you might find with sports drinks, there are two things that can happen if you have too much sodium or potassium in your diet. Too much sodium is called, hypernatremia. This happens when your sodium increases to high levels. You will feel symptoms of dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhea if you ingest too much sodium. The body does this to dilute excess sodium in your system. Too much potassium is called, hyperkalemia. When too much potassium enters the blood stream your kidneys have trouble filtering all of it. This can cause severe damage to your muscles and heart.

Dentist Approved Substitutes for Sports Drinks

Drinking water is a good substitute because it’s not going to cause your mouth’s pH balance to be thrown off track. However, it’s not going to give you the electrolytes you might be looking for either. The next best thing to do would be to eat food that is high in potassium. Here is a short list of food that has potassium: yogurt, bananas, avocados, mushroom, squash, and potatoes. These foods are dentist friendly. In fact, yogurt is one of the best because it replaces bad bacteria with good bacteria. It’s also a good thing to have a good diet when you start any kind of workout regimen. This is because it allows you to eat healthier options to enhance your workout progress.

What Dentist Say About Rehydration

During physical activity we sweat more and replenishing our body is so important to vital organs. The first symptom you might feel is a dry mouth. One positive thing about sports drinks is that it encourages people to drink more fluids. Since many people do not drink enough throughout the day you might need that boost. If you choose to drink energy drinks dentists will tell you to couple it with water.

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