Sacramento, Calif. — With children back at school and fall sports underway, the California Dental Association is encouraging parents and children to “rethink your drink” before reaching for a sugary sports drink or juice.
“Athletes often think they need more than just water to rehydrate during or after an activity, but water is adequate for most hydration needs. And what many don’t realize is that drinking those sugar-filled sports drinks or juices can contribute to irreversible dental erosion, tooth decay and dental pain,” said CDA President Lindsey Robinson, DDS, a pediatric dentist.
A 32-ounce sports drink can contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar while a 20-ounce soda often has more than 16 teaspoons of sugar. Drinking these types of sugar-loaded beverages can increase the risk of tooth decay by giving bacteria in the mouth sugar to feed on, which then produces acid that attacks the teeth and weakens enamel.
“If you are going to have a sweetened beverage, try to drink it with a meal to limit the exposure time to your teeth,” said Robinson.
CDA advises choosing water or low-fat milk over sugar-laden drinks like soda, juice, fruit punch, energy drinks or sports drinks. Drinking water can also help keep gums hydrated and rinse away food particles that would otherwise stay in the mouth aiding in the bacterial growth that causes decay.
Most importantly, CDA reminds parents and children to protect teeth throughout the year by brushing for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly and visiting a dentist for a complete dental checkup on a regular basis.