Are You Protecting Your Oral Health when You Work Out?
Whether you are a runner, an athlete, or just spend a lot of time at the gym, you know how important it is to keep yourself hydrated. The question is, are you taking your teeth into consideration? If you are swigging on sugary sports drinks, you are likely doing a lot of damage to your teeth. While you may believe that these beverages are what you need to restore the carbohydrates that you lose during exercise, water is a better alternative, and you’ll be able to rehydrate without sacrificing the health of your teeth.
The Oral Health of Olympic Athletes
Researchers from Australia’s University of Adelaide, studied the effects of sports drinks on the oral health of athletes from the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Their report indicated that the oral health of these athletes was poor, showing high levels of erosion, decay, and other dental problems that led to pain and problems with eating, drinking, and sleep. Many of these issues were attributed to excessive sport drink consumption, as some athletes are under the impression that the acid found in these beverages is a trade-off for the carbohydrates they provide. Unfortunately, this same study found that damage to the teeth occurs within the first 30 seconds, meaning most of the problems with the teeth will be diagnosed when it is too late.
Sports Nutrition and Your Teeth
Many athletes might be surprised to find that sports drinks offer minimal performance benefits over just plain water if someone is exercising constantly for 90 minutes or less, as sipping on water can be just as hydrating. Additionally, the body stores enough carbohydrates to work out or walk briskly for about three hours, so using sports drinks when they aren’t needed can increase tooth decay without providing any real benefit to your overall health.