Sports drinks can cause tooth decay

  • Published
  • By Capt. Wah-Yung Tsang
  • 82nd Dental Squadron
Have you ever wondered how beneficial sports drinks are? Sports drinks have high sugar content and acid levels that can contribute to tooth decay.

In the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr. Alex Milosevic, University of Liverpool, England, reported the case of a 23-year-old cross-country and marathon runner whose upper teeth had eroded from drinking sports drinks regularly for the past year.

What dentists recommend, is to skip all those energy drinks and go for diluted fruit juice instead. It costs less and offers the same benefits.

For those who exercise and are concerned about fluid replacement, water is still your best choice.

As Kurt Butler said in "A Consumers Guide to Alternative Medicine," "there is no reason to pay inflated prices for performance drinks. For those who prefer these drinks, there is no harm in using them, and they do efficiently replenish body fluids after a marathon or near-marathon. But they provide no competitive edge over those drinking less costly fluids."

Read labels carefully.

Know that one teaspoon of sugar is equal to about 4.2 grams in weight. If your bottle of sports drink says 44 grams of sugar, you would divide 44 by 4.2 which is equal to 10 teaspoons of sugar.

The World Health Organization recommends limiting sugar intake to 45 grams, 11 teaspoons, a day or less. More than the recommended amount will slow absorption and may cause stomach cramps. Also, when drinking sports drinks don't sip or swish. The longer they stay in your mouth, the more damage they can do to your teeth.