Working out is an important part of your daily health, but some workout habits can be harmful. You don’t have to be an athlete or participate in contact sports for your mouth to suffer. Consuming sports drinks (and energy drinks), a common habit for many people, could be compromising your oral health.
Damaging Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are widely consumed to replace electrolytes lost during exercise because they give your body energy while delivering some amount of hydration. What many people don’t realize is that their sports drinks erode the enamel on their teeth, leading to more severe dental problems down the road. Sports drinks are highly acidic, with an average pH of about 4.0, which varies from brand to brand. On the pH scale, lower numbers mean a higher acidity. Tooth enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5, which means that sports drinks are acidic enough to damage your enamel. Repeated exposure to these drinks causes more and more damage.
Once the enamel of your teeth is damaged, the sugars in these beverages contribute to tooth decay. Bacteria on the surface of your teeth will consume the sugars and produce an acidic secretion that eats into your teeth and causes cavities. The average 20oz sports drink contains about 7 teaspoons of sugar, which is about 30 grams. That’s like eating 10 sugar cubes!
Snacks In Place of Drinks
When it comes to working out, water is the best form of hydration that you can find. Water on its own won’t replenish all of your energy, so you might want to include a few snacks in your workout routine. Watermelon is a great snack choice because it can help alleviate residual soreness the next day. Your mouth will also benefit from the vitamin C and antioxidants in this summer fruit. Increasing your consumption of water-containing vegetables such as cucumber, celery, and bell peppers will also help your routine by introducing important nutrients and giving your body energy. And don’t ignore a craving for salty snacks. One thing that sports drinks do provide is salt, which your body needs to help retain water.
But you should avoid energy bars, which not only contain a lot of carbohydrates, but can be sticky and stay on your teeth for an extended period of time.
Repairing Existing Damage
Once damaged, your enamel cannot be repaired, so it is important to take measures to protect it before problems develop. If your enamel has been damaged, you can still protect your teeth by keeping up on regular oral hygiene habits like brushing your teeth twice every day. Having a dental cleaning every six months is also important in order to remove harmful bacteria and detect any developing problems such as gum disease. Teeth that have been weakened to the point of chipping or that have developed decay can be protected through the use of dental crowns.
An assessment of your mouth can help create a long-term protection and care plan for your teeth. For more information please call (845) 627-7645 for an appointment with a Rockland County Dentist at B & D Dental Excellence.