Sports drinks and their effect on teeth | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Sports drinks and their effect on teeth

John Bocchi
John Bocchi

Beverages designed to help replace nutrients lost during sports or exercise can help your body recover, but they can irreversibly damage your teeth. At Sierra Smiles Tahoe, we’re in the business of protecting smiles, so we want our patients to understand the harmful effects sports drinks have on teeth.

Surprise! It’s Not the Sugar

While it’s still completely true that sugary foods and drinks can lead to cavities, when we talk about sports drinks, we’re concerned with acid.

The acid in sports beverages damages teeth’s protective enamel. This is concerning because enamel is irreplaceable. Teeth are left exposed to bacteria, sugar, and even more acid. This worsens the problem since bacteria feed on sugar and then produce even more acid, creating a vicious cycle.

The Damage

Besides increased risk for decay and the need for fillings, if problems are left untreated, more in-depth treatment like root canals may be necessary. If acid is left to continually eat away at the enamel, the tooth’s roots may also become infected. Treatment isn’t as painful as you may think. Root canals actually relieve the pain, not cause it. More so, if a tooth has been treated several times, a dental crown or onlay may be necessary to strengthen the tooth and prevent repeated fillings.

It’s best to seek the opinion of a dentist if you notice any possible decay symptoms including:

Sensitivity to heat, cold or sweets

Discoloration

Toothaches

Pain when biting

Holes or pits on the tooth surface

Maintaining regular appointments at Sierra Smiles Tahoe is the best way to catch early enamel damage. Dental cleanings and exams at least twice a year are typically recommended, so if it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, call to schedule an appointment today.

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