It’s misleading to think that sports drinks are a healthy alternative to water. Sports drinks are marketed as a “replacement for lost essential nutrients during and after exercise.” It is questionable if this is really necessary, when for most people a balanced diet will provide all the nutrients and electrolytes needed. Most sport drinks have high levels of sugar and acidity, both of which are harmful to your teeth. The pH of sports drinks can range from 2.3 to 4.5 which is very similar to that of soft drinks. The pH below which damage to tooth enamel can occur is 5.5. Some sports drinks even have caffeine, which adds to one’s daily caffeine consumption in our already coffee and energy drink-obsessed culture! Excessive caffeine can cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and disruption of sleep patterns.
If you are going to consume sport drinks, it is better to have the drink all at once rather than sipping it over a period of hours. This is because acid-attacks are more harmful the more frequently or prolonged they occur. Having your sports drink through a straw, rinsing your mouth with water (which has a neutral pH) and chewing a sugarless gum afterwards have been shown to reduce the harmful effects of sports drinks.