The unhealthy side of sports and energy drinks
During the summer, it’s important to keep hydrated, especially if you’re active. But if you’re in the habit of guzzling energy or sports drinks, you may be doing more harm than good.
Recent research has shown that drinks like Gatorade and Red Bull can be extremely damaging to teeth. Even the sugar-free versions have high levels of acid–more than many sodas. So even though these drinks have vitamins and other healthy extras, they also bring an increased risk of tooth decay. Energy drinks were found to be the worst offenders, with some brands containing up to twice the amount of decay-producing acid as soda pop.
According to a study from the Academy of General Dentistry, the acid level is so high in these drinks that they can start eroding tooth enamel after only five days of heavy use. And, in the summer, people tend to consume these drinks in larger quantities. The study estimates that up to 50 percent of teens consume energy drinks on a regular basis, and even more are drinking sports drinks at least once a day.
Does the average person need to consume sports or energy drinks? Definitely not. Despite what the ads may say, water is generally your best bet for staying hydrated.
If you just can’t kick your sports or energy drink habit, try drinking through a straw to help reduce the beverage from coming into contact with your teeth. And, rinse your mouth with water after you’re done. Water will help wash away the acid, minimizing the potential for tooth damage.
So, in addition to brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, stay away from soda and other flavored beverages, especially energy drinks. And if you need to schedule an appointment for yourself or your teens on summer break, be sure to call (425) 223-4854 so we can fit you in when it’s convenient for you.