Kids are back in school, sports are back in session and kids are thirsty. Sports and energy drinks are a five billion dollar a year industry marketed as a healthy alternative to soda (which they're not). Each year, more than 62% of teens drink one or more energy drink a day. Adults drink them to burn fat, gain energy and build muscle. Regardless the reason, we have plenty of reasons for you to ditch these sugary drinks especially when it comes to your protecting your teeth. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the increase in sports and energy drink consumption is causing irreversible damage to a person's teeth. The high acidity levels in the drink erode tooth enamel which makes teeth more likely to develop cavities and/or decay. Similar effects are found among those who consume gel shots and performance related supplements. Poor dental health can hinder athletic performance. British researchers found that athletes with dental issues were also more likely to experience challenges in eating, sleep, inflammation, and low self-confidence. The bottom line is if sports and energy drinks are a must make sure to take advantage of these four helpful hints:
- Use a straw when consuming energy or sports drinks so the acid from the drinks doesn't stain their teeth.
- Rinse out your mouth with water or mouthwash after consuming an energy or sports drink to lessen the intensity of the acid on the teeth. However, wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth.
- Eat foods high in calcium and phosphate (i.e. -- milk, yogurt, and cheese) that help remineralize your tooth surface.
- Keep drinking water. Sports and energy drinks should never be a substitute for water and it is critical for proper hydration.