When we think of drinks that are terrible for kids’ smiles, we automatically turn to soda. While these sugary, carbonated beverages are absolutely bad for growing teeth (and adult teeth, too!), there’s another type of drink that’s just as concerning to your pediatric dentist in Chattanooga. Today, we’re talking about sports drinks and the hidden negative side effects of these colorful favorites.
One of the common misconceptions is that sports beverages are a better choice than soda because of the typically lower sugar content. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. While many of the sports drinks of choice don’t contain a whole lot of sugar, they are still pretty acidic, and that’s the part that’s concerning.
Acid is a large contributor to dental decay and cavities. When sports drinks are consumed regularly, teeth are exposed to a lot of acids which can easily damage protective tooth enamel. Why is that bad? Well, once enamel is damaged, it’s unable to repair and teeth are left exposed. Without enamel, bacteria are able to wiggle into tooth crevices, feed off sugars from food, and, as a result, produce even more damaging acid. It’s an ongoing cycle that can lead to decay.
If decay is left untreated, the possibility of more advanced treatment may be necessary. For example, decay that reaches the root of a tooth may require a root canal and crown to relieve the pain and save the tooth. Many patients are concerned and sometimes even fearful when they hear the term root canal, but it’s important to know that a root canal itself isn’t painful, it’s the damage that the root canal treatment is fixing that hurts. If left alone, it will become more painful and may even lead to an infection known as an abscess, which also doesn’t feel very good.
When a problem does occur, it’s important to recognize the symptoms so that you can catch and treat it early. If your child complains, or if you notice any of the signs of decay below, see your pediatric dentist in Chattanooga as soon as possible.
Prevention is always preferred over treatment. This is why we recommend dental cleanings and checkups at least every six months. This way if something does occur, we can catch it and treat it early before more advanced treatment is needed.
If your child is overdue for a dental appointment, or they’re ready to experience their very first visit, it’s time to call a pediatric dentist in Chattanooga to schedule an appointment.