Sports Drinks and Enamel Erosion
Sports drinks are not as healthy as you might think. In fact, sports drinks have a deadly combination of sugar and acidity that can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. Weakened enamel creates an environment for cavities, tooth sensitivity, and staining. If you are an athlete this news may be disappointing; however, Dr. Fondriest has tips for drinking sports drinks responsibly.
Sports Drinks Create Environments for Cavities
The International Association for Dental Research in Miami conducted an experiment to study the effects of drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, Life Water, Vitamin Water, and Propel Fit Water. Since cow teeth are anatomically similar to human teeth, these were used to examine the results of prolonged exposure to each beverage. To replicate drinking sports drink throughout the day, researchers from the New York University College of Dentistry immersed the teeth in each beverage for 15 minutes at a time. When the teeth were not soaking in sports drinks, they were kept in saliva, as your teeth would be inside the mouth. This cycle continued for 75 to 90 minutes, mimicking the average time teenagers spend consuming these beverages.
Enamel Erosion is a Significant Factor
Previous studies have suggested that a combination of the especially acidic and sugar components in these sports drinks result even more damage to teeth than soft drinks. Acid and sugar are particularly harmful to teeth because they weaken tooth defenses against tooth decay, sensitivity to temperature, and tooth discoloration. Enamel erosion is the main concern with drinking beverages like these, especially when they are consumed over a long period of time, which reintroduces acid and sugar throughout the day.
How to Protect Your Teeth from Enamel Erosion
The results of the experiment with cow’s teeth suggest that sports drinks create enamel erosion at significant levels, making teeth vulnerable to cavities, sensitivity, and staining. If you are concerned about loss of enamel, there is one tip for drinking a sports drink. Drinking through a straw will reduce the amount of liquid that touches your teeth.
Avoid Tooth Staining
Although sports drinks seem to be more harmful to your enamel than soft drinks, according to the study done by New York University’s College of Dentistry, soft drinks are still bad for your teeth. If you have an obsession with soft drinks, your teeth may also benefit from heeding this advice: drink with a straw. Researchers found that Powerade and Gatorade were guilty of causing the most tooth discoloration. Other infamous tooth staining drinks include soft drinks, coffee, red wine, and tea. Drinking through a straw when you can will keep your front teeth from essentially straining the dark beverage.
Prevent Continual Acid Erosion
One of the main ways you can harm your teeth is by continually reintroducing sugar and acid into mouth. For example, if you take a sports drink with you on a road trip and continually sip on the beverage over a period of hours, you are prolonging acid and sugar exposure. This means that sugar and acid formation is constantly attacking your tooth enamel, causing your teeth to become weak for a long period of time. If you are going to have a soft drink or sports beverage, drink it quickly then put it down. You can also drink water in between sips to help wash away the sugar and acid that harms your teeth.
Avoid Cavities and Other Dental Problems with a Healthy Diet
No one wants to be diagnosed with a dental cavity or other oral health problem. Yet many people never realize the way their dietary choices can impact their teeth and gums, either for better or for worse. A well-balanced diet provides your entire body with the nutrients that are needed to maintain oral health.
Drinks in particular, can be troublesome for teeth, because many people drink sweetened and acidic drinks throughout the day, not just at mealtime. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugars and highly acidic materials, the more likely acidic erosion is going to occur.
Actually one of the best things you can do to protect your oral health, is to drink more water. Water helps you produce saliva, which is a natural plaque fighter. Plus, the more water you are drinking, the less likely you are to reach for sodas, sports drinks, juices and other beverages that could actually be causing damage to your teeth’s enamel!
Concerned about your use of Sports Drinks and enamel erosion or your risk of cavities?
Contact us at (847) 234-0517 to schedule a dental examination. We are currently accepting new patients in the neighboring Chicago communities.