Here’s What You Need to Know About Sports Drinks and Your Oral Health

athletic man drinking a blue sports drink

As the weather gets warmer, more and more people are turning to sports drinks to quench their thirst after playing and being active in the summer sun. These energy-replenishing drinks are advertised by some of the world’s top athletes and beloved by kids, but it’s important to know the damage they can have on your oral health.

Sports beverages (Gatorade, Propel, Powerade, etc.) do keep you hydrated and can replenish important minerals your body needs after exercise. These drinks are packed with electrolytes, which keep your muscles and body functioning well and are lost through sweat.

However, most sports drinks are very similar to soda in terms of sugar content. The benefits above make these drinks seem healthy and justify many people’s reasoning to drink them frequently. But, unfortunately, consuming sports drinks too often can have irreversible effects on your teeth.


How can sports drinks damage my oral health?

It’s true that sugar isn’t great for your teeth, and that sports drinks can have the same amount of sugar as sodas and fruit juices, or even more. However, the real danger with these beverages is their acidity.

The high acid content in sports beverages can cause irreversible damage to your teeth by breaking down your enamel, or the outermost layer of your teeth. Without a strong layer of enamel protection, your teeth can become more sensitive to temperature and touch as well as more vulnerable to staining and discoloration.

Enamel is the hardest material in your whole body, even harder than bone, but the acidity of sports drinks can break, crack, and erode this surface—and once it’s gone, it doesn’t grow back. Once these cracks are made, bacteria can spread and cause tooth decay, cavities, or eventually even gum disease.

four men playing the sport of tennis

What should I do about it?

In moderation and with proper oral care, sports drinks probably won’t cause lasting damage to your teeth. However, it’s important to remember that these beverages are not health drinks and that they should be consumed sparingly like one would soda.

The ideal course of action is to switch to drinking water whenever possible. Only the most intense of workouts require the need for electrolyte replenishment like these sports drinks offer. Even then, studies show that eating a banana has many of the same benefits.

If you do decide to drink a delicious sports drink every now and again, just make sure to rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum afterward. Wait 30 minutes to brush your teeth after consuming a sports drink, as brushing before your mouth’s pH level is back to normal can exacerbate any damage. In addition, keep up-to-date on teeth cleanings and other dentist visits so you can stay on top of your oral health.

Woman having teeth examined at dentists for overall oral health

For more information or to set up teeth cleaning appointments, consider Mesa Street Dental, a highly-qualified and professional dentist office in El Paso, Texas offering both general and cosmetic dentistry services. At Mesa Street Dental, we treat our patients with kindness and respect, so you can receive the highest level of care in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Contact us today—your teeth will thank you!