Before you hand your child that next sports drink, take a moment to consider the effects on their young teeth. With warmer months ahead of us, we often reach for a sports drink to help with replacing fluids and electrolytes lost from activities. According to kidshealth.org, “The average young athlete can and should get all the necessary nutrients and hydration by eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.”
Studies by the Academy of General Dentistry, however, show that sports and energy drinks, with their high acidity levels, can erode the tooth enamel. This irreversible damage can lead to teeth becoming overly sensitive, and can make teeth prone to cavities and decay.
While water is a simple option for combating dehydration during warmer months, there are a couple of simple tips to keep in mind if your child will be consuming a sports drink. Chewing sugar-free gum after drinking can help increase saliva which helps balance the acidity level in the mouth – or simply have your child rinse her mouth with water.
Ironically, this is one time we caution against brushing too soon. If teeth are brushed within an hour of consuming a sports drink, it can spread the acid on the tooth enamel and actually increase the damage – so rinsing with water first and brushing after an hour will usually do the trick!
Sources: Medical News Today
Academy of General Dentistry
KidsHealth.org – the Nemours Foundation