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Energy/Sports Drinks and Tooth Decay:

With spring sports and (hopefully) spring weather kicking into high gear, it’s a good time to review what your child is drinking during and after their games.

For the majority of children, with approximately 60 minutes of activity (i.e. game, practice that provide breaks in between) plain ol’ H20 is perfectly acceptable for rehydration. Remember our days of little league and travel soccer? We had water bottles, orange slices and bagels or pizza post-game to replenish ourselves.

For high-intensity athletes, hydration becomes multifactorial. It depends on many factors such as:
1) Hydration prior to exercise
2) Sports dynamics (i.e. rest breaks, fluid access)
3) Environmental conditions (heat, humidity)
4) Exercise intensity
5) Exercise duration
6) Athlete’s sweat rate
In these cases, water, carbohydrates and electrolytes are essential for hydration during and post exercise.

Although a sports drink may be necessary in some circumstances, it’s important to limit it’s use and effects on your child’s teeth:

1) Alternating between water and sports drinks: swishing or rinsing with water will help to reduce the effects of the acid and sugar on your teeth.

2) Consider alternatives to sports drinks such as: coconut water/juice (for mild rehydration), plain milk and even (gasp!) chocolate milk post-exercise. Especially good is homemade chocolate milk (3 cups of milk, 2Tbsp cocoa powder, 2Tbsp powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla). Milk provides necessary carbohydrates and contains more essential electrolytes than Gatorade.

3) Rehydrate with food: Watermelon (top rehydration fruit, contains 90% water and essential rehydration salts), Melons, Bananas (high in potassium), Strawberries, Oranges (from the days of travel soccer), etc.

As far as energy drinks (like Rockstar, Red Bull, etc.), it’s a big NO from the pediatric dentist! Not only does it contain a high amount of acid and sugar, but the high levels of caffeine can have their own potentially fatal consequences.

Read more below:

Sports Drinks and Dental – http://amjdent.com/Archive/ReviewArticles/2005/Coombes%20FinalApril2005.pdf

Blog by Dr. Calcaterra – http://directionsindentistry.net/sports-energy-drinks-cause-tooth-cavities/

Gatorade nutrition facts (34 grams of sugar in one bottle) – http://www.docstoc.com/docs/1064339/Gatorade-Nutrition-Facts