Sports Drinks "Over Exercising" Teen's Enamel

Often when we give our kids sports drinks, we think we are giving them a healthy drink that outweighs other options such as soda or energy drinks, but the reality is we are putting their oral health at risk. An article written by BBC News (UK) discusses the major issues with the consumption frequency of sports drinks by young teens. A study done by Cardiff University found that out of 160 Welsh students ages 12-14, 89% consume sports drinks, and 68% of the group drink them at least once a week.

These statistics are alarming because of the serious threat these drinks hold over teen’s oral health. Large quantities of sugar are dangerous to the teeth, and in sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade, there are 14 grams of sugar in a single 8 fl. Oz. bottle. Mass amounts of sugar significantly increase the risk of developing enamel erosion and cavities.

The British Soft Drinks Association stated the sports drinks were not created to be drank leisurely, but instead for “vigorous physical activity”. In the aforementioned study, “half the children said they drank the drinks socially rather than in a sports setting, and only 18% claimed to drink them because of perceived performance-enhancing effects.” The president of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Paul Jackson, stated sports drinks are specifically intended to be drunk by athletes who participate in high intensity and long duration activity. But even some athletes have experienced tooth decay due to regular consumption of these drinks.

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