Summer is just around the corner and with so many outdoor activities hydration is very important. Many people reach for those thirst quenching, electrolyte replacing sports drinks and gels. Most people think of these drinks as somewhat healthy and are surprised to learn that these are major contributors to tooth decay and are significant contributors to obesity.
Further, new studies show that high performance athletes are actually at an elevated risk for dental disease. Individuals that train for running, cycling, or other events with long distances are sipping these drinks and gels for extended periods. The constant bathing of the teeth in sugar can have detrimental effects. Many kids, teenagers and parents are grabbing these drinks as an alternative to sodas because they do not realize that they are just as high in sugar and are unaware of the hidden dangers. Remember with tooth decay it is not just the quantity of sugar but the length of time the teeth are exposed to the sugar that causes cavities.
It is hard to believe, but true: most people in the United States consume about 3-4 pounds of sugar a week. Most are unaware where the sugar comes from. A major contributor to high sugar intake is through beverages. These beverages often contain at least 15 -20 grams of sugar. Further many people get in the habit of drinking multiple beverages in a day. For example if you had a soda, juice box, sports drink, and fruity drink in 1 day, that’s more than 41 teaspoons of sugar – that is the equivalent to about 38 chocolate chip cookies! Those drinks have a total of 595 empty calories that give you no nutrition and leave you feeling hungry.
Read Labels and Hydrate Intelligently
Instead of staying hydrated with beverages high in sugar choose to drink water, diet beverages such as Powerade Zero (which has no sugar). While reduced sugar beverages are better for you, you should still tray and avoid low calorie sports drinks such as Gatorade G2. It does have reduced amount of sugar but still can cause cavities. It is very important to become an educated consumer and read those labels for sugar content.
Drs. David and Janna Civils
1114 Magnolia Street