Sugary sports drinks and your kids teeth.

Sugary sports drinks could be harmful to your child’s teeth.

Fall is in full swing, and that means fall sports are well underway! Whether your little surfers play football, baseball, soccer or hit the pool for swim team, there’s no doubt that weekends are now full of sports, sports, sports.

And with these sports activities, how many of us are grabbing bottles of sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade for our kids or even ourselves?

Gatorade is probably the most popular and easily recognized brand of sports drink. Developed in the 1960s at the University of Florida, it was created by a team of researchers to replenish carbohydrates that athletes burned during sporting activities. It was also meant to replace the water and electrolytes that these same athletes lost. As the University of Florida’s mascot was the Gators, it made sense they named this beverage, “Gatorade”.

What are the Ingredients?

These sports drinks contain water, sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (more sugar), salt, monopotassium phosphate (soluble potassium), salt (electrolytes), sodium citrate and citric acid. With a multitude of delicious flavors to choose from, it’s no wonder so many of us choose these options for ourselves and our kids.

In its original design, as it was at the University of Florida, these drinks are meant to replenish what athletes are losing through physical exertion. This ability to recover quickly allows athletes to maintain performance and sustain endurance. But when we drink them without physical exertion, we are ingesting empty calories and loads of sugar.

How These Drinks Affect Your Teeth

There are large amounts of sugar that can contribute to obesity, tooth decay and hyperactivity found in sports drinks. Too much sugar sitting on our teeth fuels cavities and can lead to exposure of the inner layers of our teeth that may become sensitive and painful.

These sweetened beverages also can contain high levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion. These acid attacks on our teeth last for about 20 minutes each. With every sip you take of these sugary drinks, you renew the acid attack on your teeth and the damage it does to your teeth. Drinking water is an easy way to rinse this sugar off your teeth. However, if you are gulping down a sports drink, chances are you aren’t also drinking water.

If your little surfers are drinking these sports drinks when they are not being active, they have less need of replenishing carbs, calories and electrolytes. So they can become as dangerous to our teeth as drinking a soft drink.

Choose Water

The best way to hydrate your little surfer, whether they are on the gridiron, the mound or just resting at home is to give them water. Water will keep teeth clean of sugar and acid, but it also gives our bodies everything they need for proper hydration.

If your kids do drink sports drinks, look for ones that have less sugar. Monitor when and how often they drink them so they don’t overdo it. The amount of sugar in a 12-oz sports drink is comparable to a 12-oz soda. Be sure your kiddos are also brushing and flossing to keep sugars and acids off their teeth.

Smile Surfers Pediatric Dentists

If you have any questions about how to care for your child’s teeth, levels of recommended sugar, or other dentistry-related questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our board-certified pediatric dentists!

Two locations to serve you:

Richland: (509) 946-9999

Sumner: (253) 833-5137