Sports Drinks: Healthy Or Harmful?

SportsDrinksCDCSports drinks are consumed by 62% of adolescents every day.  But are do the benefits for your child’s body, teeth and gums outweigh the risks? Here are some facts to consider when allowing your child to consume sports drinks:

Sports Drinks Damage Tooth Enamel

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing “irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth. While tooth enamel is literally the hardest substance in the human body, it’s no match for a steady stream of acid.”

Sports Drinks Are Full Of Sugar

After water, the second ingredient in some popular brands of sports drinks is high fructose corn syrup. Full-calorie iced teas, sports drinks, and flavored waters typically contain 3 to 5 teaspoons of sugar per 8-ounce serving.  A popular 20-ounce sports drink has about the same amount of sugar as a frosted cupcake which means that bacteria present in your child’s mouth are being given exactly what they need to grow!

Sports Drinks Are High In Calories

Even though they generally contain fewer calories than soda, sports drinks can still be high in calories due to their serving sizes and the large amount that many kids drink.  Sports drinks make up 10-15% of the daily caloric intake of most teens.

The bottom line is that Sports Drink = Sugar, Not Extra Energy.  Sugar sweetened drinks are not a necessary part of a healthy diet. They should only be consumed sometimes – not every day, and not in large quantities.

Children’s Dental Center encourages you to read labels and be aware of everything your child drinks.  Keep your child hydrated and make certain that you child is drinking plenty of water. If you have any questions about whether to let your kids drink sodas, fruit juice, or sports drinks, and how your child should care for their teeth should you allow them, talk with a dentist at Children’s Dental Center about the potential long-term ramifications, and what steps you can take to minimize your child’s risk.

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