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Stay Cool, but Skip Sports Drinks This Summer

Technically, summer doesn’t start for another few weeks. But for all intents and purposes, summer is in full swing here in Central Florida. I don’t know about you, but in the middle of these muggy, ninety-degree-plus days of unforgiving sun, nothing feels better than a nice cold drink. But before you pick out your favorite thirst quencher, here are a few things to consider.

We all know soda is bad for our teeth. It’s got loads of sugar, so that means it will cause cavities, right? Well, if you’ve been reading our blog since way back in 2015, you’d remember that it’s not just the sugar that can damage your teeth; it’s also the acid. But there are other popular options for a hot summer day.

Sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade are incredibly popular during those hot summer months. They’re marketed as healthy supplements for people with great muscles and more than a healthy supply of sweat. If you’re someone working or exercising with great intensity outdoors or in any environment that will make you sweat buckets, there is definitely a need to replenish not just your water, but also your electrolytes. For people who sweat a lot during work or play time, drinking too much water without replenishing electrolytes can actually cause a condition called hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication. So there is definitely a time and place for sports drinks.

For most of us, however, these drinks are not only unnecessary on a daily basis, but they can also be incredibly damaging to your teeth. While they generally contain a less refined sugar per ounce than a Coke or Sprite, they come in much larger servings than the typical soda can (32oz as opposed to 12oz), meaning the total sugar consumed may far exceed what you would expect. A 32-oz bottle of Gatorade, for example, has 21 grams of sugar. (I will give credit, though: they provide some other minerals and micronutrients that can be pretty helpful if you’re fighting dehydration.)

The sneaky damage to your teeth, however, is not from the sugar content as much as the acidic pH of a sports drink. Neutral pH is about 7, and battery acid registers as about 1. Gatorade hits an incredibly acidic pH at 2.9, which has incredible potential to damage your enamel. It takes about twenty minutes for your mouth to return to its neutral pH after exposure to sugary and acidic foods. So, if you are one of those people who likes to keep a bottle of sports drink on hand and sip on it all day, keep in mind that you are bathing your teeth in acid for hours on end. It is vital to help your mouth stay as close to neutral as you can.

So what are we to do, as we sit here melting away? If you can, plain water is the best option to stay hydrated and healthy, not only for your teeth but for your entire body. Even if you need to pair your water with a salty snack to get some electrolytes in there, water is the best choice. However, sometimes we just can’t say no to that sweet seduction of a Gatorade after a midday workout. That is totally fine, treat yourself! Just try not to sip on a sports drink over a prolonged period. Guzzle it, swish with water right away, and maybe consider popping a piece of sugar free gum just to make sure your oral environment is good and neutral afterward. Stay cool, Orlando!


Lake Baldwin Dental

950 Lake Baldwin Lane
Orlando, FL 32814

Phone
407.515.8500

Fax
407.515.3039

Office Hours

  • Monday: 9:00am - 4:30pm
  • Tuesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday: 7:00am - 3:00pm
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
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