During or after sports sessions, it’s important that your child consumes fluids to hydrate and recover from the exercise. Beware if your child usually reaches for sports drinks, however. Sports drinks are unnecessary for children and may actually be detrimental to their dental and overall health, according to most pediatric dentists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Below are a few reasons why your child should stick to water for hydration.
Why Your Child Should Avoiding Sports Drinks
Sports Drinks Were Designed for Professional Athletes
Sports drinks are intended to be consumed by professional athletes who devote their lives to exercise. While some older teens are serious and dedicated to sports practice, most children spend much less time and energy on physical activity. Professional athletes need the sugars, electrolytes, and nutrients in sports drinks during or after an intense training or game to maintain peak performance, but your child doesn’t.
Beyond this, children’s bodies and adult bodies have different needs. For example, the American Heart Association recommends that those under 18 years of age consume no more than 25 grams of sugar in a day, while an adult male may consume no more than 37 grams. According to the USDA, the average sports drink contains over 34 grams of sugar, well above the limit for children. Consuming this much sugar increases your child’s risk for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Sports Drinks Are Terrible for Teeth
All that sugar causes dental issues, too. Sugar will stick to your child’s teeth, attracting bacteria that feed and thrive. These bacteria excrete acids that erode your child’s teeth, causing cavities and infections.
While this alone is damaging, the dry mouth caused by exercise makes matters worse. Since your saliva has antibacterial properties, its absence makes your child’s mouth more hospitable to those cavity-causing germs, leading to a higher risk for a tooth decay and cavities.
The Benefits of Sports Drinks Are Found Elsewhere
Many fruits and vegetables contain the same electrolytes found in sports drinks without all the sugar. Some, like apples, also help to naturally clean your child’s teeth. In addition to drinking water, give your child snacks that offer the advantages of sports drinks without the harmful effects. Your children’s dentist will advise you on acceptable replacements for sports drinks that boost dental health at the same time.
If sports drinks have taken their toll on your child’s teeth, visit Dr. Paul K. Seo, D.D.S., M.S., the pediatric dentist at Dentistry for Kids in Pearl City, HI. With over 20 years of dental experience, Dr. Seo will tend to all of your child’s dental needs, from toothaches to wisdom tooth extraction. Dr. Seo and his friendly team foster a positive attitude towards dental care, so your child will look forward to each visit. They accept patients from all of Oahu Island. Learn more about their team online or call them at (808) 486-8881.