July 3, 2018
It’s extremely important to stay hydrated during the summer. The last thing you want is to end up with the headaches, nausea, and other unpleasant symptoms that can come when you haven’t taken in enough fluids. During the summer, many people reach for sports drinks or energy drinks, but is that a good idea? Your dentist is here to talk about the consequences that these beverages can have for your oral health.
Sugar and Acid — Your Smile’s Worst Enemies
Few things are as bad for your teeth as sugar. The sweet stuff interacts with bacteria in your mouth and leads to plaque and tartar, which in turn lead to cavities. Unfortunately, most sports and energy drinks are packed full of sugar.
Of course, you could choose a sugar-free drink to keep you going through your summertime activities. However, most of these beverages are still quite acidic. The acid can wear away at your enamel and increase your chances of decay and tooth sensitivity. Energy drinks tend to be quite a bit more acidic than sports drinks, but both types of beverages can damage your smile.
How Bad Can They Really Be?
Everyone knows that regular soda is extremely hard on teeth, but research has found that sports drinks can be up to three times worse! Consuming sports drinks while you’re enjoying summertime sports is especially dangerous. When you’re engaging in vigorous exercise, you may breathe more through your mouth, which can dry up your saliva. Without adequate saliva to rinse away the sugar and acid from your beverage, your teeth become extra vulnerable to damage.
Energy drinks have another thing against them; they contain high amounts of caffeine, which can contribute to dehydration.
The Best Way to Stay Hydrated
Plain water will not cause any damage to your teeth, and it is fantastic at keeping you hydrated. We suggest that you invest in a high-quality, insulated water bottle that you can keep with you throughout the summer so you always have something cool and refreshing to sip on.
Still, you might say, “Aren’t the electrolytes in sports drinks important for hydration?” Yes, electrolytes help to prevent muscle cramps and promote proper fluid balance in the body. Fortunately, there are ways to get an adequate amount of them without sacrificing your oral health:
- Eat lots of fruits and veggies, especially ones that are rich in potassium, like bananas and spinach.
- Drink coconut water. Be sure to choose a variety that is as pure as possible, without added sugars or flavors. It contains plenty of potassium and isn’t horrible for your teeth.
- Choose enriched water that contains added electrolytes.
This summer, please steer clear of sports drinks and energy drinks. Your oral health will thank you!
About the Dentist
Dr. C.J. Landry has over 30 years of experience in dentistry, and he provides general family dentistry as well as more advanced services. He is passionate about helping his patients to learn how to take care of their teeth. If you have questions about how best to protect your smile this summer, please contact our office at 504-348-0080.
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