July 12, 2019
It’s summer time, and that means enjoying fun outdoor adventures and activities. Summer also means that the temperature is going to climb higher and higher. During this time of year, it becomes especially important to stay hydrated, but before you reach for energy or sports drinks, consider how it could impact your smile. In this post from your dentist, you’ll learn about the dangers of these drinks and what you can do to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
How do sports and energy drinks affect teeth?
At first glance, sports and energy drinks seem harmless and even helpful. They are marketed as restoring electrolytes lost in your sweat and giving you a boost when you need it, but the contents can be damaging for your smile.
The harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease thrive on sugar and create acids that wear down tooth enamel. The more sugar you consume, the more acids they produce, and the more likely you are to have cavities or develop infection in your gums. If you look at the nutritional label, you’ll see that each of these drinks includes a lot of sugar. Drinking these sugary fluids on a regular basis can make your mouth more susceptible to these negative outcomes.
Some foods and drinks have high levels of acidity: lemons and other citrus fruit, for example. As the protective layer of your teeth, enamel has a certain threshold of acidity that it can withstand, but when it comes in contact with highly acidic substances, it can erode and weaken. Keep in mind that enamel cannot grow back after it is lost. Studies have found that both energy and sports drinks are very acidic and remove enamel. Over time, the effect of weak enamel means that your teeth may crack or even break more easily.
What can you do to protect your oral health?
The easy solution for the problems that energy and sports drinks cause is to cut them out of your diet completely. However, for some this change doesn’t fit into their chosen lifestyle. If you reduce your consumption of them to every once in a while, that can help decrease their damaging effect. Instead, throughout the day, try to drink more water, which has no sugar or acid, especially after drinking these other beverages. Water can help wash away the sugars and bacteria and neutralize the acids.
Also, make sure that you’re maintaining healthy oral care habits, including:
- Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.
- Flossing daily.
- Visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings twice annually.
Although you may enjoy having these drinks frequently, they can be irreversibly hurting your teeth and gums, potentially leading to serious consequences for your smile in the long run. By making a few changes in your lifestyle, you can support lifelong oral health.
About the Author
Since 1982, Dr. C.J. Landry has owned and operated Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA. In total, he has over 30 years of dentistry experience and has completed thousands of hours of advanced training and continuing education courses. He prioritizes giving gentle, personal care for each patient and using the most advanced technology to deliver lasting results. To schedule an appointment with him, click here or call (504) 348-0080.
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