Energy and Sports Drinks – a Word of Caution

Most people understand the relationship between sugar and tooth decay, and parents are careful about allowing their child to have too much candy or sugary soft drinks.  The recent popularity of sports and energy drinks has brought on an increase in the occurrence of decay related to tooth erosion in children.

Over-consumption of acidic beverages such as sodas, sports drinks and some box juice products can increase the potential for dental erosion, which leaves tooth surfaces weakened and more susceptible to bacteria that cause tooth decay.

In recent years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has cautioned parents about energy and sports drinks:

“Sports drinks, which contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavoring are designed to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise. Sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but in most cases they are unnecessary on the sports field or in the school lunchroom.

Caffeine, a common ingredient in energy drinks, has been linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. Energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents, said Dr. Benjamin and co-author Marcie Beth Schneider, M.D.  In general, caffeine-containing beverages, including soda, should be avoided.”

By far, the most common recommendation for parents and athletes is to drink water before, during and after sports activities.


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