Sports Drinks & Dental Decay

Red Bull

Sports and energy drinks like Gatorade, Vita Rain, Red Bull, Accelerade and work out products like whey protein shakes are quite popular with young adults. They all advertise their superiority in boosting recovery efficiency after participating in sports and athletics.

I'm not going to debate the superiority of one over the other, but I do have to comment that these sports drinks and energy products all have detrimental effects on teeth when used excessively and improperly.

Acidic beverages have erosive effects due to the porous nature of enamel in young adults. In addition, the sugars attract bacteria, cause cavities in teeth and may cause gum disease.

Here are a few tips to avoid the ill effects of consuming them.

  • Do not brush immediately after drinking acidic beverages (wait at least an hour).
  • Rinse with water to reduce acidity and/or chew gum.
  • Drink quickly and through a straw to avoid prolonged exposure.

While I certainly agree with the benefits of hydrating the body and replacing any lost salts and essential elements, caution is to be observed as to not overdo and negate the benefits of these soft drinks. Research has shown that hydrating with water before, during and after moderate exercise is recommended and that sports drinks are recommended for vigorous and intense activities only. Even in such conditions, water should not be replaced entirely with these sports drinks; it's better to combine both forms of hydration.

- Dr. Satish