It’s no surprise that sugary drinks aren’t good for your health. What may be surprising, however, is just how much sugar is in those supposedly healthy beverages. Sports drinks that promise to replenish electrolytes after a hard workout often contain 6-8 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Energy drinks are even worse, often with as much as 29 grams of sugar per serving.(1)
Knowing how to read the label is key. We all understand the dangers of sugar but not everyone knows that there are 57 other words to describe it as an ingredient! No matter what name you give it, sugar still causes tooth decay. Both sports drinks and energy drinks are loaded with it. (2)
What’s more, The Academy of General Dentistry conducted a survey that showed the high acidity levels in both sports and energy drinks irreversibly damaged tooth enamel after only five days of exposure. People have experienced enamel loss by as much as 1.5% for sports drinks and twice as much or 3% for energy drinks!(3)
Even the athletes you look up to who are featured in commercials promoting sports drinks are not immune to their effects. A survey of 302 athletes from the London Olympics in 2012 found 55% had cavities, 45% had tooth erosion, and 76% had gum disease. One in five even said their oral health affected their athletic performance.(4)
So what should you drink instead? It turns out good old water works wonders. According to Women’s Health, if you work out at moderate intensity for an hour or less every day, maintain a well-balanced diet and hydrate before a workout then that should be enough to keep your electrolyte levels where they need to be. Of course you should consult with your doctor to see what your personal levels are.(5)
In short, keep hydrated while staying away from sugary drinks and you’ll have plenty to smile about with respect to both your physical AND your oral health.