Sports Drinks Can Cause Cavities

Pediatric Dentistry for Avon, Connecticut

FALSE: Sports Drinks Are A Healthier Option than Soda

Many kids enjoy playing sports, riding their bikes, and participating in other outdoor activities in the spring and summer. Being active outdoors can cause kids to become thirsty. When that happens, children and teens often turn to sports drinks to stay cool and hydrated and to replace electrolytes.

Many young people and parents believe that sports drinks are a healthier option than soda, but that is not true. Consuming too many sports drinks can cause cavities in a child’s teeth.

Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks all contain high levels of sugar and acid. The amounts of sugar and acid can vary from one brand to another, and even from one flavor to another in the same brand. Some sports drinks can do more damage to teeth than soda. Drinks that contain sugar and acid are especially problematic when they are consumed over a long period of time because they spend a large amount of time bathing the teeth in sugar and acid.

This does not mean that your child needs to give up sports drinks entirely, but you should limit your child’s consumption of them. Instead of buying the largest bottles of sports drinks, buy 12- or 16-ounce bottles. You can also dilute sports drinks with water to reduce the concentrations of sugar and acid.

Encourage your child to drink equal amounts of sports drinks and water. Drinking water will help your child stay hydrated and will wash away any leftover sports drink to prevent it from decaying your child’s teeth. If your child does not like plain water, you can flavor it with slices of lemon, orange, or cucumber.

Encourage your child to rinse his or her mouth with water after consuming sports drinks or to chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production. Your child should not brush his or her teeth for at least an hour after consuming a sports drink because that can spread acid and increase the likelihood of tooth decay.

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David Epstein
CT Pediatric Dentist
David Epstein
A.B., D.D.S., M.S.D.

22 Jan 2022 11:11 PM