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Sports Drinks and Your Child’s Teeth

Summer is a great time for kids to be out, running around and playing. Keeping them hydrated throughout the day is very important, but you may not want to reach for their favorite sports drink to do so.

While sports drinks may help replace fluids and electrolytes after exercise, studies have shown that they can really erode teeth – They can be even more harmful to your child’s teeth than sodas! Along with a high sugar content, these brightly colored drinks are high in acidity, which also greatly contributes to tooth erosion.

Enamel is the hard outer layer of a tooth that protects the rest of it. The acids and sugars in sports drinks will begin to wear the enamel down, causing irreversible damage as enamel cannot be regrown. Teeth with the enamel worn down will then be more susceptible to cavities, staining, cracks and other forms of tooth degradation.

Energy drinks are another beverage that has grown in popularity in recent years. These, however, have been found to cause even more damage to teeth than sports drinks, as well as high amounts of caffeine and other ingredients whose effects on the body are not fully understood.

A recent study done by the publication General Dentistry found that between 30 and 50 percent of teens drink a sports or energy drink each day, and up to 62 percent of children have one regularly. It is important to limit kids’ consumption of these beverages, especially while their teeth are still in early stages of development.

If giving your child sports drinks, consider these options: Limit them to one smaller bottle each day, and have them drink it in one sitting. Letting them sip it over a long period of time increases the amount of time the teeth are exposed to the acid. You can also consider watering the beverage down, or having them drink water after consuming the sports drink. For more information visit WebMD and as always if you have questions talk to your dentist or health care professional.

Making sure your children stays hydrated while they’re out in the hot sun is critical to keeping them healthy. Just make sure you aren’t putting their dental health at risk when doing so.