Staying hydrated during outdoor exercise of any kind can be a challenge–especially in the Miami heat. And if you have kids in sports, you’ve not only got to keep them hydrated but also help them establish healthy long-term habits. So how do you do that? In this next installment of our Ask Dr. Bob series, we’ll be discussing sports drinks, the effects they have on our teeth, and some healthier options for keeping kids hydrated on and off the field.
In addition to all of those dyes, you may be surprised to discover that sports drinks contain high amounts of sugars and acids.
Aside from making kids hyper, sugars are an issue because bacteria feed off of them, which causes plaque. Plaque–which contains acids–weakens tooth enamel and causes cavities to form. Left untreated, cavities can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
The acids are a problem too. Some studies have found that the acids in sports drinks can erode tooth enamel all the way down to the dentin, causing cavities. In one study, Gatorade was found to be more corrosive on tooth enamel that Coke and Red Bull. Yikes. I don’t know about you, but just thinking about this happening to my kids’ beautiful teeth makes me cringe!
Drink More Water
Our bodies are almost 60% water! We need it to function properly, and drinking that good ol’ H2O is the best way to replenish what we lose from sweating. Drinking water before, during, and after exercise or sports helps kids get and stay hydrated throughout the day. Just helping our kids develop the habit of reaching for water is a gift that their physical and oral health will benefit from for a lifetime.
So fill those water bottles up before every game and practice. If the flavor (or lack thereof) is an issue, you can infuse it with fruits, veggies, or herbs which add micro-nutrients to the water as well. Make it in a large “batch” ahead of time, or use a water bottle with a fruit infusion filter. And if replacing electrolytes is an issue, bananas and coconut water are all-natural lower-sugar alternatives.
All of that being said, if your kids do have the occasional sports drink, Dr. Bob recommends these helpful suggestions to minimize their effect on those young teeth:
- Reduce the frequency and amount of time the sugars and acids from the drink remain on the teeth
- Don’t swish them around the mouth
- Alternate sips of sports drinks with sips of water
- Rinse mouthguards in water only
Call Dr. Bob
Start the year off right and schedule your child’s routine cleanings and exams at a full-service boutique practice committed to providing the exceptional care your child deserves. Dr. Bob and his team are passionate about what they do and about educating children and families about dental health. And if something should happen on the field, Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist available around the clock for dental emergencies.