The Truth About Sports Drinks

It is commonly perceived that sports drinks are a great way to replenish fluids and electrolytes after a workout or during sporting events.  Most people consider sports drinks and flavored water to be a slightly healthier option than just plain old tap water.

The reality, however, could not be further from the truth.

While sports drinks do contain electrolytes, they also contain an elevated level of acidity and sugar, which is very damaging to tooth enamel.

The problem with perception:

When most people think about sports drinks, they think they are getting a healthier alternative to soft drinks or tap water.  What they don’t realize is that most sports drinks have nearly as much sugar, sometimes even more, as soft drinks.

In addition to excess sugar, sports drinks also contain a high level of acidity not too different from soft drinks.  Acidity is equally as detrimental to overall tooth health as sugar, and drinks high in both sugar and acidity are going to leave your child’s teeth much more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.

They aren’t just bad for your teeth.

Sports drinks aren’t just bad for your teeth.  With the added sugar also come more calories.  While sports drinks might be beneficial during prolonged and vigorous exercise, they don’t fare so well in normal activities or limited exercise.

In a lot of cases, your child will actually be taking in more calories than they are actually burning.  The average serving size of a sports drink is 8 ounces, however, off the shelf options are usually 20 or 32 ounces, meaning your child is drinking 2-4 servings if the entire bottle is consumed.

Unless your child is extremely active, the extra sugar and sodium contained in sports drinks isn’t necessary to supplement their activities.

What should I give my child?

As you might have guessed, good old-fashioned water is the best way to keep your child healthy and hydrated.   Water does wonders not only replacing and liquids lost during activity, but also to continually rinse and clean their teeth of plaque buildup and bacteria.

If you do give your child sports drinks, just be sure to monitor the serving size and to supplement it with water to better promote your little one’s tooth health!