Exercise is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. But if you don't watch what you drink and eat when you work out, you may cause harm to your teeth and gums. Some of the sports drinks and nutritional snacks you consume during your workouts can potentially erode your tooth enamel.
Enamel erosion is an irreversible condition. Tooth enamel can't repair or replace itself once it wears down or thins out. You can only prevent the problem from getting worse by monitoring what you eat and drink during your exercise sessions.
Here's how your sports drinks can potentially affect your teeth and what you can do to minimize the damage the beverages cause.
How Can Your Sports Drinks Affect Your Teeth?
Although many sports drinks contain vitamins and minerals that hydrate and benefit your body, the beverages may be high in acids. Every time you sip on the beverages, you bathe the thin surfaces of your teeth (enamel) with acid. The acids eventually consume or break down your enamel.
As mentioned previously, damaged tooth enamel doesn't have the ability to fix itself. Once enamel does wear down, it exposes the softer tissues beneath it, including the dentin. Although dentin is thicker than enamel, it isn't as strong or resilient as enamel. The exposed dentin is also vulnerable to bacteria.
Bacteria are living organisms that can adapt to many different environments, including acidic conditions. In addition, bacteria can make its own acid by feeding on the sugars in your mouth. The combination of acid and bacteria can cause cavities to develop in your teeth. Cavities can be superficial or deep.
Cavities that form in the dentin can damage or infect the soft tissues inside your teeth. Teeth affected by soft tissue infections require root canal treatment or an extraction. Root canal treatment is often a treatment of choice because it allows dentists to save teeth rather than permanently remove them.
By making some easy changes in how you drink your sports drinks, you may avoid the issues above.
How Do You Minimize Damage to Your Teeth?
If you really need to drink sports beverages during and after your workouts, consume products low in acid and sugar. You can select drinks with natural fruit juices, such as strawberry or apple. Try to avoid citrus-based sports drinks, such as orange and lemon. Citrus fruit can be acidic to your tooth enamel.
It's also a good idea that you consume your sports drinks all at once instead of sip them. Each time you sip your drinks, you introduce fresh acid to your enamel. Also, cleanse your mouth with water. Water hydrates the body naturally, which can keep you hydrated during and after your exercise sessions.
If you notice changes in your tooth enamel, such as yellowing or sensitivity, contact a dentist for treatment. Dental treatments such as porcelain veneers can protect your teeth without causing further damage to them. Veneers also cover discolorations in your enamel, including yellowing. Veneers can last for many years, so consider this option.
You may also qualify for dental crowns. Dental crowns restore teeth damaged or affected by tooth decay, erosion and other conditions. A dental provider may suggest that you have root canal treatment completed before placing crowns on your teeth.
Finally, keep your teeth healthy by scheduling regular checkups with a dentist. Tooth erosion is a serious problem that can become worse without the appropriate tooth cleanings and exams. The dentists at Moana Dental Care can ensure that you stay on track to good oral health all the time, not just when you exercise.