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David M. Rizk, DDS

Sports Drinks and Their Effect on Teeth

added on: June 9, 2016
sports drink

Beverages designed to help replace nutrients lost during sports or exercise can help your body recover, but they can also cause irreversible damage to your teeth. At my El Paso dental office, we’re in the business of protecting smiles, so we want all of our patients to know the harmful effects sports drinks can have on their pearly whites.

Surprise! It’s Not the Sugar.

Usually when we talk about foods and drinks that cause decay, we’re dissing the sugar content. And while it’s still completely true that sugary foods and drinks lead to oral health problems like cavities, when we talk about sports drinks, the thing we’re more concerned with is acid.

Many popular sports drinks are very acidic, and that’s a problem. The acid in these beverages damages the protective enamel. Any damage done to the enamel is always a concern because once enamel is gone, it’s gone, and teeth are left exposed to even more problematic elements like bacteria, sugar, and even more acid. This causes the problem to become worse since bacteria feed on sugar and then produce even more acid, snowballing the damage into a neverending cycle.  

The Damage

Besides increased risk for decay and cavities and the need for fillings, if problems are left untreated, more in depth treatment like root canals may be necessary. If acid is left to continually eat away at enamel, the tooth’s roots may become infected, and that can hurt. Treatment, however, isn’t as painful as you may think. Root canals actually relieve the pain, not cause it. More so, if a tooth has been treated several times, the need for a dental crown or onlay may be necessary to strengthen the tooth and prevent the need for repeated fillings.

It’s best to seek the opinion of a dentist in El Paso if you notice any symptoms of possible decay including:

  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweets
  • Discoloration
  • Toothaches
  • Pain when biting
  • Holes or pits on the tooth surface

Maintaining regular dental appointments at my dental office in El Paso is the best way to catch any damage to the enamel early to decrease the need for more advanced treatment. Dental cleanings and exams at least twice a year are typically recommended, so make sure you’re keeping up with your dental checkups. If it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, call to schedule an appointment today.

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