Sports drinks: not the right choice for children!
Protect those sweet smiles…stick to milk and water for your child’s drinks!
I have always loved watching my kids compete in athletics and enjoy friends and teammates. Such valuable life lessons can be learned through working together as a team. When I attend these events, there are a lot of sports drinks being consumed by a lot of athletes, and some by spectators too. Sports drinks are the “new” water for so many kids and adults. The fact is, these drinks really aren’t necessary for your kids unless they have been exercising intensely for a long period of time. The best drink for your child’s body and teeth to hydrate with is ALWAYS water. Sports drinks are definitely not needed in the school lunch room or as routine drinks. We parents have been misled into thinking that sports drinks are healthier for our kids than water after exercise and a better choice than soda as a treat. Both are untrue! Sports drinks often contain as much sugar and calories as soda, and are very acidic which is causing our kids’ teeth to erode and result in dental decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a statement in June of 2011 stating that water should be used for hydration in children, not energy or sports drinks. Dr. Holly J. Benjamin co-author of the AAP statement says,
“For most children engaging in routine physical activity, plain water is best, sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay. It’s better for children to drink water during and after exercise, and to have the recommended intake of juice and low-fat milk with meals. Sports drinks are not recommended as beverages to have with meals.”
Energy drinks have also become common place in our kids’ lives, especially adolescents. Energy drinks contain added stimulants such as caffeine. Caffeine can have several harmful effects on children, including harmful effects on the heart and teeth. Dr. Benjamin states that children should avoid caffeine. Some of the most popular energy drinks contain as much caffeine as 14 cans of soda! Kids are naturally energetic, caffeine is not necessary!
The consumption of sports and energy drinks have increased by 300 percent over the last twenty years, and have become super sized! This increase is partially responsible for the obesity rate of our kids and very responsible for the increase in dental decay. The acid in sports drinks can dissolve enamel on your child’s teeth. If your child does drink sports drinks encourage your child to
- Drink less of the sports drink and replace with water.
- Swallow the drink and do not swish around the mouth coating all the teeth.
- Never rinse mouth guards using the sports drink.
- Drink water after the sports drink.
- Wait to brush teeth for about 30 minutes after the sports drink, the enamel softens after the acid and brushing can damage it further.
So, let’s make a pact parents! The next time you are assigned snack duty after the big soccer game for your child, pack water in that cooler, and forget the sports drink. Your child and the team will be healthier and their teeth will thank you!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.