Sports drinks can cause dental problems
TORONTO, Aug. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - With the return of back to school, many children and young teens are gearing up for sports activities. When these budding young athletes reach for sports drinks to keep their bodies hydrated, they may be putting their oral health at risk.
Dentists are seeing serious tooth problems at young ages and sports drink consumption could be to blame. According to Dr. Jerry Smith, President of the Ontario Dental Association (ODA), the combination of sweetness and acidity in sports and energy drinks can lead to tooth decay and dental erosion.
"The sugar in these drinks create a perfect environment for bacteria to flourish in your mouth causing tooth decay," says Dr. Smith. "The acid in these drinks causes the erosion of tooth enamel via a chemical process. If you do consume a sports drink, rinsing with water after may help lessen the potentially damaging effects and make sure to wait at least 60 minutes until you brush, as consumption of acidic drinks causes tooth enamel to 'soften' somewhat."
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease – five times more common than asthma. It is also preventable with proper care. The Ontario Dental Association also encourages children and teens to choose water or, at least, limit their intake of sports drinks.
Encouraging your child to reach for their water bottle instead of sports drinks is an easy and safe way to hydrate during sports activities and games. It can also be a cost-effective idea if filling up with water from your tap. "We always say water is the best drink of choice," says Dr. Smith. "Drinking water and drinking fewer processed beverages help ensure that you are getting the proper hydration, is better for your body and makes for healthier teeth."
Most kids participating in activities do not need electrolytes contained in sports beverages. According to pediatric dentist and ODA Past-President Dr. Ian McConnachie, the evidence supports that for the vast majority of kids – even in competitive games – the only need is for hydration with water. He explains: "They have enough electrolytes in their system and can replenish those lost in games at mealtime with a regular balanced diet."
Keeping your child or teen hydrated with water is a healthier option for both body and mind than consuming sports drinks which can pose a risk to oral health. A healthy mouth helps ensure a healthy body for your child or teen. For more information on tips for children's oral health care or tooth decay go to www.youroralhealth.ca.
SOURCE: Ontario Dental Association
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