Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sports Drinks & Your Teeth

Back to school means back to sports, and back to sports means an increase in the consumption of sugary and acidic sports drinks. The popular energy drinks sipped on by children participating in after school activities to rehydrate and revitalize can actually wreak havoc on their teeth.

The combination of acidic components, sugars, and additives in sports drinks combine to erode the tooth’s surface, weakening the enamel that protects teeth from bacteria. The enamel erosion ultimately makes teeth more susceptible to bacteria and leads to hypersensitivity, staining, and tooth decay.

If you drink a sports drink, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Don’t sip the drink throughout the day. - Drinking them quickly means less time for the sugars and acids to erode enamel.

Don’t swish them around your mouth. - That only increases the risk of erosion.

Use a straw. - So teeth aren’t immersed in or in direct contact with the sugars and acids in the beverage.

Resist the urge to brush your teeth immediately after finishing a sports drink. - Tooth enamel softens after consumption of acidic drinks, making teeth susceptible to more wear from the abrasives in toothpaste. Wait 45 minutes to an hour before brushing to give your saliva time to re-mineralize the tooth structure and neutralize the damage.

Seek regular dental care. - Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma. It’s also completely preventable with proper care. Your dentist can identify erosion, pinpoint the causes, and advise you on how to prevent further damage and more serious problems from occurring.

Wear a mouthguard! - It is rule number one when playing sports! Preventing injury to your teeth is as important as protecting them from decay and erosion.