Dr. Stephen A. Price


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What Sports and Energy Drinks are Doing to Your Child’s Teeth

By: | Monday, October 15th, 2018 | General Dentistry

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Dental Services BURKE, VANow that we are settled into a new school year, many kids have developed their eating and snacking habits. As hard as parents may try, it can be difficult to keep kids away from foods that could harm their teeth. Here, we want to discuss the reality of sports and energy drinks and why they are not good alternatives to soda.

Many people turn away from soda as a way to avoid unnecessary exposure to sugar and chemicals that the body can’t process well. When it comes to kids, especially teens and children who play sports, the alternative is sports drinks. Interestingly, if we look at labels, there are types of sports drinks that may contain as much sugar as the average soda, or even more. This could be because a bottle of Gatorade, for example, contains more ounces of fluid than a can of soda. Regardless, the sugar content is something that poses a threat to oral health.

But Wait, There’s More!

Like soda, sports and energy drinks have an acidity level. This describes where chemicals lie on the spectrum of acidity. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. In the middle, at 7 pH, a substance is considered neutral. Pure water is an example of a neutral substance. A measurement below 7 pH means more acidity; greater than 7 means less. With each number change, the increase or decrease in acidity is 10 times different, and this is compounded. So, a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 6. A pH of 4 is 100 times more acidic than the pH of 6.

What does this have to do with your teeth? According to studies, if we were to place a tooth in a substance with a pH of 4, it would dissolve. In fact, enamel erodes when exposed to a pH of 5.5. Dentin, the softer matter just beneath enamel, erodes at pH 6.5. Seeing this, we might imagine we would never consume anything that was so acidic. We do.

Formal measurements on the acidity of a wide range of commonly consumed beverages reveal that we are downing quite a bit of acid with every can or bottle. A few examples include:

Is There a Solution?

The ideal solution would be that we go back to what nature intended and we drink water and natural juices. This is a relatively far-fetched idea at this point in time, so we need other strategies. Dentists recommend:

Your Burke dentist is interested in helping your family avoid uncomfortable dental problems. To schedule a checkup and cleaning with our friendly team, call (703)-935-2879.



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