If your kids play sports, you have a decision to make before every practice and game: Should you provide them with plain water or sports drinks? While sports drinks are advertised as part of a healthy lifestyle, dentists urge parents to opt for water, and here's why.
A Closer Look at Sports Drinks
Sports drinks contain minerals like calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphate. They also have electrolytes that facilitate the movement of nutrients into the cells and the transfer of waste out of them. Electrolytes also balance the body's pH level and manage its hydration. Considering the body loses electrolytes through sweat, it’s understandable why sports drinks contain such minerals; however, they contain problematic ingredients like sugar, citric acid, and chemical food dye, too.
Sugar coats the teeth in a sticky film, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. And if the bacteria stick around feasting on this sugar for long enough, they’ll produce acid that wears down the enamel. Citric acid can contribute to further erosion. Food dyes cause staining over time.
Why Water Is Usually Enough
While it’s true that the body needs electrolytes, young athletes typically don't have to replace them by chugging sports drinks after a single practice session or game. For the average person, water will suffice when it comes time to rehydrate. This is primarily because the standard diet is already loaded with electrolytes.
If the temperature is especially high, though, or practice is more grueling than usual, your child may need a little something extra. Eating an orange or banana can also replenish the electrolytes lost in sweat, so sports drinks aren't necessary.
Supplying your children with healthy beverages will help their oral hygiene. For further dental care, turn to Eric J. Hartzell, DMD. Practicing out of High Point, NC, since 1994, this family dentist uses state-of-the-art technology to provide comprehensive care to patients of all ages. To browse the procedures he offers, visit his website. To make an appointment for your little athletes to see the dentist, call (336) 886-8776.