Alpharetta, GA – Do your children regularly consume sports drinks, either while playing sports or as an alternative to juice or soda? While you may think it’s a healthier option, Dr. Nanna Ariaban, an Alpharetta pediatric dentist, advises against frequent consumption of sports drinks.
“For both children and adults, water is the best option for staying hydrated,” says Dr. Nanna.
“We often assume athletes need something more during their physical activity, but that’s not always the case. If your child maintains a healthy diet rich in the necessary vitamins and minerals throughout the day, water should be the only thing necessary to rehydrate during activity.”
Sports drinks are often hyped by the added benefits – they offer electrolytes or something else that can boost performance and help the body hydrate and recover.
But sports drinks are also often high in sugar.
A regular bottle of Gatorade is 32 ounces and contains 56 grams of sugar. This is one-fifth of our daily recommended amount of carbohydrates, and close to twice the amount of recommended additional sugar intake. It also is high in sodium, which can actually make us thirstier. Powerade, Vitamin Water, and other brands aren’t much better, with large servings of sugar and high fructose corn syrup in each serving.
“While carbohydrates are needed in children and adolescents to round out a healthy diet, these carbohydrates should come from healthy sources, not just sugars,” says Dr. Nanna. “But the sugar isn’t the only thing we worry about when it comes to these drinks.
While sugar can lead to tooth decay, drinks high in acidity can, as well, and these drinks often fit that bill, too.”
Acid attacks the enamel of your teeth, weakening it. This leads to cavities. Many sports drinks contain citric acid, which can demineralize the teeth.
It’s important to know and understand the drawbacks to sports drinks. When used properly during rigorous exercise, sports drinks can provide proper hydration and the electrolytes the body needs to perform and recover. They can be beneficial in extremely hot or humid weather. However, they should not be a regular part of a child’s diet and should not be consumed as a replacement for soda or juice.
Instead, encourage your children to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Another alternative that our dentist friend Dr. James Park, DMD in La Habra always brings up is tea. Not sweet tea. Healthier teas like Oolong, green or black tea that is not loaded with sugar. Now most kids don’t actively run to the shelves to grab tea, but it is definitely an alternative to water and much better than sports drinks.
Aside from choosing healthier options for kids at sports practice, it’s also imperative to keep their teeth safe from potential injuries. New Generation Dentistry in Mission Viejo offers advice to protect children and their teeth during rough sports.
Sports can be a fun way to get active and make friends, but it’s also important to provide kids with the right resources and information to stay safe throughout these activities. Parents should consider sports drinks the same as they consider any other sugary snack or beverage – as a treat that should be consumed occasionally.
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