Many hydration and energy practices of athletes are not great for dental health. Consider the following information from the University of Minnesota Dentistry: Barq’s Rootbeer has pH 4.61/10.7 tsp. sugar; Sprite pH 3.42/9 tsp. sugar; Diet Pepsi pH 3.05/0 tsp. sugar; Nestea Ice Tea 3.04/5 tsp. sugar; Gatorade pH 2.95/3.3 tsp sugar; Coca Cola Classic pH 2.53/9.3 tsp. sugar; and battery acid pH 1.0. Water by comparison has a pH of 7.0/0 tsp. sugar. The sugar contained in these beverages combines with the bacteria in mouth to form acid. This is compounded by the fact that many of these beverages are already high in acid which is the main cause of weakened enamel and promotes a great breeding ground for cavity formation. Energy bars, gels, bloks and jelly beans provide the same high sugar, sticky forum for dental decay. While you can’t stop, brush and floss during your long run there are some precautions you can take.
- Chug sports beverages don’t sip. This reduces the length of time in contact with the teeth and is a better hydration practice (faster gastric emptying times).
- Follow sticky solutions with water and swoosh.
- Chew sugarless gum to reduce residue left on teeth.
- Brush, floss and rinse when your workout is done.
- Encourage young athletes to drink water in events lasting less than one hour.
- Teach young athletes responsible dental hygiene in sports.
- Teach young athletes that sports drinks are for sports only; not lunch, break, or after dinner beverages.
Categories: Sports Nutrition