Summer is the season of playing outside for kids and adults alike. There are summer sports programs, biking and walking on some of our many fabulous trails, playing in the pool, and any number of fun-in-the-sun activities. All of those can make you thirsty. Before you or your child reach for a sports drink or energy drink, however, your friendly Kansas City family dentist would like you to think twice. Here’s why.
When you exercise, play sports, or are otherwise extremely active for up to an hour at a time, your body is losing more than water. It’s also losing amino acids, fats, sodium, and other important metabolites. The average person should drink about a full quart of liquid every hour to replace the fluids lost from exercise or physical activity; however, no study has shown a benefit to sports drinks or energy drinks for the levels of activity that most people engage in.
Sports drinks were designed for professional athletes who train hard all day long. They may need the levels of sugar and other additives that most sports drinks provide, but you don’t. For the average person, even one who has been extremely active, the best thing to drink to replenish is simple water.
What’s more, sports and energy drinks can have a serious negative impact on your or your child’s dental health. Why?
So Much Sugar. Sports drinks and energy drinks are loaded with sugar, often containing even more sugar than cola and other soft drinks. All that sugar may give you a rush, but it also does significant damage to your teeth. Sugar is the favorite food of the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and the amount of sugar in most sports and energy drinks is not good for your smile.
Unnecessary Stimulants. The “energy” in energy drinks usually comes in the form of stimulants such as caffeine. Unfortunately, these stimulants have been linked to negative health impacts in young children, which can affect neurologic and cardiovascular systems. We’d recommend that you think long and hard before you let your children have energy drinks.
Some Serious Acid. Citric acid can be a big flavor enhancer, but it can also damage the enamel of your teeth. Your mouth regulates its own pH well to prevent erosion, but introducing highly acidic beverages can throw that delicate balance off, which leads to big problems.
Sports drinks and energy drinks don’t necessarily put you on a collision course with tooth decay, but they aren’t helping. Taken in moderation and combined with a healthy diet, good dental hygiene, and regular trips to your Kansas City family dentist, they might be okay, but in most cases, plain water is the better choice.
Got questions about the best ways to keep hydrated while staying active this summer, or anything else relating to your dental health, your smile, cosmetic dentistry, or sleep apnea? Call Blacker Family Dental at (816) 763-8400 or click here to schedule an appointment.