Dental Health for Athletes

Did you know that energy and sports drinks are linked to poor dental health among athletes? Sports drinks were originally developed to improve hydration and performance in athletes taking part in high intensity sporting events. These drinks contain high amounts of carbohydrates (sugars), salt, and citric acid. These ingredients create the potential for dental problems such as tooth erosion and hypersensitivity.

Woman Drinking From Sports Bottle

Athletes are more likely to sip on the sports drinks frequently during exercise. This increases the time the teeth are exposed to acidity and high sugar content of the sports drinks. This makes teeth vulnerable to erosion and cavities. Other sports products that are high in sugars and acidity are sports gels and gummies.

Here are some tips to protecting your teeth during exercise and sport:

  1. Choose WATER over any other beverage during athletic activities. It’s the healthiest and safest drink choice for your teeth and body. If you need carbohydrates, consider healthy food options like bananas.
  2. If you are drinking sports drinks, do not swish the drink over the teeth. This makes the teeth more vulnerable to the acids. You can also use a straw, to keep the acidic beverage away from the teeth. Another tip is to dilute the sports drink with water.
  3. Ensure a healthy diet that is also healthy for your teeth. Foods high in calcium, like cheese and plain yogurt are also healthy for teeth. Avoid sticky foods, like dried fruits, that remain on teeth for longer period of time.
  4. Do not brush teeth after consuming acidic beverages, like sports drinks or juice. Wait a minimum of 30 minutes! Tooth Enamel requires time to recover from the acid attack.
  5. Stay hydrated during exercise, as dehydration leads to decreased salivary flow. A dry mouth makes teeth more vulnerable to acid exposure and cavity formation. Stay on top of this by drinking lots of water!

Speak to your North Vancouver Dentist about ways to protect teeth during sporting events. We can recommend mouth rinses, gums, and mints to add more protection to your teeth.