Lots of very healthy, athletic people may be doing something that is very harmful to their dental health without even thinking about it. A recent study of triathletes showed that when surveyed, only a few thought themselves to be at risk for tooth decay. In reality, more than 80% of them showed an extremely high risk. What was the problem? They drink sports drinks on a regular basis. Even though they worked out extensively and were careful with their diets, the sports drinks that they consumed were wreaking havoc on these triathlete’s teeth.
Sports drinks are highly acidic because of the sugar and acidic juices found in their ingredients. Because liquid sugars can reach areas easier, they are often associated with increased dental decay. Sports drinks are scientifically proven to cause erosion of tooth enamel! The more frequently your teeth are exposed to sugar and an acidic environment, the greater the amount of erosion in the tooth enamel and more likely you are to develop tooth decay.
Some sports drinks are even worse on your teeth than drinking soda. So should you give them up completely? You don’t have to give up all things acidic, but you should limit them. Instead of sipping on a sports drink when you workout, drink it all at once and then rinse your mouth out with water. Or better yet, bring water with you instead and safe the acidic stuff for later.
If you have enamel erosion your dentist can apply a professional flouride treatment or prescribe a high dose fluoride gel to use at home which will aid in enamel remineralization. Fluoride is useful for preventing further erosion and alleviating symptoms such as tooth sensitivity. It can also delay or prevent decay due to past enamel damage.
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