Sports Drinks and Caries Link
Energy sports drinks are marketed to young athletes to enhance their performance on the field, court or ice, to give the athlete that added advantage. In fact, what they are doing is exposing children to extraordinarily high levels of sugar which are super-charging the bacteria responsible for caries in their mouth rather than super-charging the athlete.
The combination of sweetness and acidity in sports and energy drinks can lead to tooth decay and dental erosion. If you do consume a sports drink, rinsing with water after may help lessen the potentially damaging effects and make sure to wait at least 60 minutes until you brush, as consumption of acidic drinks causes tooth enamel to ‘soften’ somewhat.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease – five times more common than asthma. It is also preventable with proper care. The Ontario Dental Association also encourages children and teens to choose water or, at least, limit their intake of sports drinks. Encouraging your child to reach for their water bottle instead of sports drinks is an easy and safe way to hydrate during sports activities and games. It can also be a cost-effective idea if filling up with water from your tap.
Most kids participating in activities do not need electrolytes contained in sports beverages. According to pediatric dentist and ODA Past-President Dr. Ian McConnachie, the evidence supports that for the vast majority of kids – even in competitive games – the only need is for hydration with water. He explains: “They have enough electrolytes in their system and can replenish those lost in games at mealtime with a regular balanced diet.”
We have our children in sports to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle. Let’s make sure that happens by discouraging them from drinking high sugar content sports drinks while performing the sports they love.