The summer months are a wonderful time to get outdoors and be active. Whether you are just tossing the football around or playing in an organized league, it’s tempting to refresh and rehydrate with an energy or sports drink after working up a sweat. As helpful as these may be for electrolyte levels, the excess sugar is likely throwing the pH level of your saliva out of whack. That can have serious implications for your oral health — more than you might think.
How Sugary Drinks Affect Your Smile
We all know sugar is bad for the teeth, but many don’t really know why. It’s actually not the sugar that causes problems as much as the acid that sugar forms once it combines with the bacteria that naturally exists in your mouth. If this acid is left to linger on the tooth enamel for a long time, it will gradually weaken the area until a lesion or cavity forms.
Fortunately, the saliva has a good defense ready. In healthy mouths, spit contains calcium and phosphates that act by deflecting acids like Michael Jordan blocking shots. But if you’re drinking too many sugary drinks after a game or match, you’re affecting the pH balance of the saliva and making it more difficult to defend against the very sugars you’re introducing.
What to Drink Instead
What to do if you want to eliminate your favorite berry or melon drink from your diet? Turn to the natural hydration instead — clean, pure H2O! Water is a wonderful way to regain what you’ve lost during exercise to help you feel energetic and ready to win the rest of your day. Combine it with a whole piece of fruit to get the natural sugars that you may be missing from the sports drink. It’ll taste extra-hydrating after you’ve been hitting it hard on the court!
See a Dentist this Summer
Sports and energy drinks aren’t the only elements that stand to put your smile in danger this time of year. Breaking from the routine, going on vacation, and indulging in ice cream and other sweet treats can leave you with a cavity or gum disease. To help make sure your smile escapes the season without any damage, schedule a checkup and cleaning with your dentist this month. It’s a great idea at any time of year, but especially when you and your family may have a bit more time in the schedule to dedicate to oral health.
Summer is a great time to get outside and work up a sweat — just make sure you aren’t exposing your smile to a whopping dose of sugar afterward. And even if you do, schedule an appointment with your dentist to keep your teeth healthy and clean!
Meet the Practice
At Compassionate Dental Care, Dr. Stirneman, Dr. King, and Dr. Lumpkin offer comprehensive dentistry services with a friendly, gentle approach. They invite their friends and neighbors from Lake in the Hills to schedule an appointment this summer! To learn more about preventive dentistry or to book a checkup and cleaning for you or someone you love, do not hesitate to contact the office at 847-854-7645.