Sports drinks are a popular choice for athletes to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes after a game or a workout. While many people drink the brightly colored, sugary beverages thinking they’ll improve athletic performance, they’re actually putting your oral health on the sidelines.
Sports drinks are packed with acid and sodium. Upon consistent exposure to these ingredients, your tooth enamel will begin to wear away, making teeth more susceptible to lasting damage from everyday activities such as biting and chewing, as well as more sensitive to extreme temperatures. Ouch!
Okay, so if not sports drinks, what should you sip on when you need a pick-me-up? If the first thing that you think of is an energy drink, think again. A 2012 study found that after just five days of repeated exposure to sports drinks, the damage to enamel was very evident. The authors of the study subsequently found that energy drinks caused up to twice as much damage to the enamel as the sports drinks did.
It is reported that between 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consume energy drinks, and that 62 percent consume at least one sports drink a day. This is bad news for teeth. Unlike many of the other things in our bodies, enamel cannot replenish itself. This means that any erosion of the enamel is irreversible, although you can ask your dentist for tips and treatments to make the loss of enamel more comfortable and help prevent further damage.
As always, your best bet to stay hydrated and replenish what your body loses during physical activity is plain water. Your body – and your teeth – will thank you!