J. Brent Copeland, DMD

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Sports Drinks and the Teen AthleteSports and energy drinks have become increasingly popular with teen athletes, and Anderson dentists are becoming more concerned about the long term impact of this trend as it related to oral health.

University studies have concluded that sports drinks are highly corrosive to the teeth, surpassing that of colas and popular energy drinks. Additionally, researchers are noting that the high sugar and acid content in most sports drinks can be harmful to the tooth enamel and root surfaces.

According to one study, teeth that were continuously exposed to sports drinks for over 25 hours were found to be more corroded than teeth that were exposed to other beverages for the same length of time. Colas, energy drinks, diet colas, and apple juice were the next most corrosive.

Another study found that athletes’ were more likely to experience dry mouth and less likely to produce enough saliva to naturally wash away acids and neutralize the effects of sports drinks. Researchers suggested that it may be possible to formulate sports drinks with enamel-protecting additives in order to protect an athlete’s teeth.

Fortunately, teens can reduce the risk of dental problems if they are only consuming sports drinks during athletic events, rather than drinking these beverages throughout the day.  Gatorade® Sports Science Institute researchers have stated that teens should avoid sipping sports drinks throughout the day as this prolongs the teeth’s contact with harmful acids and sugar.

To further neutralize the effect of sports drinks on the teeth, teens can alternate sips of water with sports drinks as a means of flushing sugars and acids from the teeth. Teens should also adopt an oral hygiene routine that includes frequent brushing and flossing.

To reinforce the importance of cavity prevention for teen athletes, make sure that your son or daughter is regularly evaluated by an Anderson dentist. Catching dental health issues early is the best way to gain control of the situation. The dentist can also help your teen to understand the impact of sports drinks or other sugar-rich beverages. If your teen athlete is due for a dental appointment, call to schedule one today.