Sports drinks lead to teeth damage in Olympic athletes

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  A recent study found that 76 percent of 2012 Olympic athletes suffered from gum disease as a result of consuming sports drinks.

Posted: May 11, 2015

Olympic athletes are believed to be in the best shape possible for human beings, or at least very close to it. But what are they sacrificing to get there? Aside from free time, studies have shown Olympic athletes are much more likely to suffer from tooth decay and gum disease than the average person. The cause of this was initially a mystery until it was realized that it came from something many high-level athletes partake in on a very regular basis. 

The Irish Dental Association found 76 percent of the 302 Olympic athletes it tested suffered from gum disease. After further study, researchers came to the conclusion this was a result of consuming large quantities of sports drinks over long periods of time.

During those same London 2012 Olympic, 46.5 percent of athletes admit they hadn't visited a dentist within the past year and 18 percent felt complications involving their teeth hindered their athletic performance at one point in time. Also, of the athletes who were surveyed from among 25 different sports, 55 percent had evidence of cavities and 45 percent had tooth erosion. 

While the IDA is all for supporting a healthy lifestyle, it does warn athletes of the effects that sports drinks can have on one's teeth if consumed often. 

"Sports drinks, protein shakes, energy drinks, energy bars and fruit juices can contain anything from five to a dozen teaspoons of sugar," said Dr. Anne Twomey, president of the IDA. "We've even come across one drink which contained 14 teaspoons of sugar. Protein/meal replacement bars can be very damaging due to the sticky nature of the honey or syrup which is often included. Dried fruit also has a very high concentration of sugar."

Ingredients that can be found in common sports drinks, such as food coloring and significant amounts of sugar, can eat away at the enamel of teeth and leave them vulnerable to decay and sensitivity. 

Twomey went on to explain many of her patients were unaware of how much sugar they consumed on a daily basis simply due to the fact that it can also be listed under as many as 57 different names, such as fructose, glucose sucrose and many more "-ose"s.

How to avoid tooth decay while still enjoying spots drinks
The popularity of sports drinks has risen over the past three decades and many not only drink it when they're being active, but also recreationally. 

Dr. Twomey didn't ban the use of sports drinks and energy bars from the athlete's lifestyles, however, she did suggest the beverages be consumed in moderation. 

"Our advice is clear," said Twomey. "Avoid sports drinks on a regular basis. If taking protein shakes or bars study the ingredients carefully and opt for those not containing sugar. Plain water is the ultimate thirst quencher while milk has also been found to be a very effective post-workout drink."

A ratio of three glasses of water to one sports drink has been recommended to prevent significant tooth damage. 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please Note: The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only.  Always consult your health care professional before beginning any new therapy.

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