It’s a common sight to see: a group of young soccer players come off the field after a game and a parent is waiting on the side lines with a snack and some bright blue and red sports drinks in a cooler. But what if the sports drinks are actually doing more harm than good?
Although sports drinks do include carbohydrates to provide a quick fix of energy, along with sodium and potassium, which are helpful when dehydration is a risk, they also contain high levels of sugar and calories that can be harmful to developing children and adults.
Sports drinks were originally created to help athletes rehydrate after serious exercise, sweat and energy exertion. Today, we drink them sometimes for fun, because they taste good, or after only an hour of moderate exercise. These drinks are almost never recommended for children or youth and only occasionally recommended for adult athletes.
One study found that among professional elite athletes in sports like football, rugby, cycling, hockey, and track and field, half had untreated decay, even though they maintained a great oral hygiene routine, and nine in 10 admitted to regularly consuming sports drinks.
When it comes to staying hydrated and keeping your body and mouth healthy, water is always the best option!
For those in high-performance sports, sports drinks can help you perform at maximum level when dehydration due to exertion becomes a risk. But they should be used in moderation. For athletes who still want to add some sports drinks to their routine, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Continue to hydrate with mainly water, only adding in as much electrolyte-filled sports drinks as necessary.
- Don’t brush your teeth right after drinking a sports drink. Although this seems like a good thing, the acid attack that occurs after drinking sugary drinks actually softens enamel, and brushing right away can erode the enamel. Wait 20 minutes and rinse your mouth out with water in the meantime.
- Avoid dry mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in keeping balance in the mouth when it comes to acid attacks.
For more information on general oral health and hygiene or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 425-366-8246.