Active Australians are putting their dental health at risk with too many sports drinks

By Maria Kyriacou

Image: Thinkstock
Image: Thinkstock
Study finds dental erosion occurring at alarming rates for sports drink consumers

A new study has revealed too many active Australians are excessively drinking sugar-laden, acidic sports drinks, unaware of the irreversible damage being done to their teeth.

Half of active adults (52.4%) who consume sports drinks at least once a week (35.1%) are unaware of the amount of acid and sugars in these drinks, and that it can lead to permanent dental damage, including erosion and tooth decay.

Parents of active children are no more informed with almost a third (29.6%) letting their children drink sports drinks at least once a week. The amount of acid in these drinks can lead to teeth erosion in as little as five days of daily use.

Dr Peter Alldritt, dentist and Chair of the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) Oral Health Committee said,  “Our research has found that while active Australians are doing the right thing by looking after their health and fitness, it is worrying to see that nearly one in two are neglecting their dental health by excessively drinking sports drinks, sipping them over long periods of time frequently each week, causing potentially permanent damage to their teeth.”

Dental erosion is often a rude shock to people who pride themselves on being fitness fanatics such as Tom Carter, a former Super Rugby Union player and NSW Waratah. Carter now lives with erosion caused by the excessive consumption of sports drinks. Throughout his rugby career, Tom says he was blissfully unaware of the dental health risks associated with the sports drinks he regularly consumed.

Upon visiting his dentist for a regular check-up, he was told he was at risk of developing permanent decay. The unsettling news was enough to see him change his habits.

The Australian Dental Association is calling on active people and parents of tomorrow’s athletes to tame their sport drink consumption before dental damage becomes a reality.

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