Should your Child be given Sports Drinks?

sports drink for kids | Ridgeview Family Dental Parents are continually told what is good and what isn’t good for their children. Soda is bad. It has sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. As an alternative, many are turning to sports drinks. You know, the colorful beverages that just about every child-athlete wants at half-time or other breaks from the big game.

Sports drinks have become exceedingly popular over the years, not only among children who play sports but among all children of all ages. Because these beverages are not carbonated, they seem innocuous compared to soda and the energy drinks that many teens and adults have started consuming. The truth is, it’s not all about carbonation. It’s also not all about sugar. It’s about acid.

A One-Two Punch

There are a few ways in which sports drinks, in particular, can be damaging. When playing sports, the mouth becomes dry due to a decrease in saliva flow. Saliva is necessary to dilute acid and sugars on teeth. That means that, without an adequate amount, sugar is more readily available to bacteria, which consume sugar residue and secrete acidic byproduct. The more acid in the mouth, the more erosion to enamel occurs. The more erosion that occurs, the more sensitive and vulnerable teeth become. It’s a cycle that, if at all possible, should be avoided.

Picking and Choosing

We can understand the temptation to pick your battles. Isn’t this pretty much how to get through parenting? When it comes to which sports drink to choose, there is no clear answer. All of them sit somewhere between 2.4 and 4.5 on the pH scale. Water has a pH of 7, and is considered neutral. The lower the number, the stronger the acid content. Picking and choosing between soda and sports drinks used to seem like a great way to protect growing teeth, but now we see that one is no better than the other. What teeth need is water.

What’s a Parent to do?

Kids can be picky. When they like something, they like it, and it is difficult to take that away. To reduce the effects of harmful, acidic beverages, limit how much your child consumes. Also:

  • Have them rinse their mouth with water after drinking soda or sports drinks. NO BRUSHING!
  • Teach them to drink through a straw.
  • Chew xylitol-sweetened gum to encourage saliva flow.
  • Drink more water (flavor with fresh fruit to make it more appealing).

Ridgeview Family Dental offers friendly care in three convenient office locations. Call 660-747-9117.

 

Posted in: Pediatric Dentistry

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