Today I thought we could chat about one of the common challenges for patients with braces and clear aligners - sports drinks!
Many of our patients are in middle and high school. Not surprisingly, at this age, they’re often becoming increasingly competitive in their favorite sports and taking their competition more seriously. This usually means more time spent training, and often, the use of sports drinks for hydration.
Sports drinks serve an important purpose. They replenish electrolytes and provide energy for continued exercise. However, due to their sugar content, they present some risks to be aware of. Many children and teens think of sports drinks as “healthy” because they go hand-in-hand with sporting events, but as far as your teeth and your blood sugar are concerned, they essentially behave no differently than soda!
Our advice when using sports drinks can be summed up in three key points:
1. Use them only during sports. It isn’t necessary to drink sports drinks throughout the day. They’re meant to get sugar and electrolytes into your bloodstream quickly for use during activity. When used at other times of day, they provide empty calories and no advantages compared to fueling and hydrating with healthy foods and water.
2. Perform good dental hygiene after using sports drinks just like you would with any other sugary foods. After use, it can be helpful to swish with water if brushing isn’t an immediate option. And, of course, never head to bed without brushing thoroughly!! (Even if you’re exhausted from the big game!)
3. Never use sports drinks while wearing clear aligners. The fluid can get trapped against your teeth under the aligner and result in prolonged exposure of your teeth to the sugar. The worst part is that your saliva can’t reach the teeth to rinse them off, and the result is much worse than simply sipping the beverage with an empty mouth.
If you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to use sports drinks AND enjoy a healthy smile!!