It’s the beginning of summer, the sun is shining, the weather is warming up and we’re spending more time outside. Staying well-hydrated is key to performing at our best in sports and enjoying all our summer activities to the fullest. Before you reach for a sports drink or soda to meet your summer hydration needs, let’s talk about how different drinks can impact your teeth so that you can make the best hydration choices with your dental health in mind.
What Does Your Body Need to Stay Hydrated?
Whether you’re playing a sport or relaxing in the summer heat, when your body gets dehydrated it doesn’t just need water, it also needs electrolytes because electrolyte loss occurs when you sweat. Electrolytes are essential minerals that, when dissolved in water, conduct electricity to your muscles, nerves and neurons so that they can function properly. They also work to balance your blood pressure and acidity to help your body rebuild damage.
Are Sports Drinks the Best for Sports?
Sports drinks are a popular source of electrolytes for summer hydration, but they can also be loaded with sugar. Some sports drinks actually contain more sugar than sodas! What’s bad about sugar?
Sugar can negatively impact your teeth when it interacts with the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth. When bacteria feeds sugar, it produces an acid that can erode your enamel or the outer layer of your teeth, resulting in cavities and tooth decay.
There are lots of natural sources of electrolytes that can help you to replenish your supply when hydrating without all the negative effects of added sugar. The primary electrolytes your body requires are sodium, potassium and chloride which are found in many healthy foods and drinks. Good sources of electrolytes include foods such as apples, bananas, watermelon, nuts, lemons, coconuts, sea salt and many others.
This means that instead of reaching for an artificially flavored sports drink or soda for your summer hydration needs, you can use natural fruit juice, coconut water, applesauce or whole fruits and veggies alongside regular water. You can even add a pinch of sea salt to your water bottle to help replenish even more minerals to meet your body’s needs.
Talk with Your Dentist
Your dentist can be a great resource for your questions about summer hydration and your dental health. The summer is a great time to make a dental appointment to talk to your dentist about how to keep your teeth healthy and protected during all your summer activities and travels so you can be on your way to a happy and safe summer.
Call our Provo, UT, dental office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.