Mouth guards and sports drinks are something you see nearly every time you watch a professional sport. Mouth guards are used to prevent injuries to the head, jaw and mouth while sports drinks keep athletes hydrated and help replace lost electrolytes during intense physical activity. This all sounds great until you think about what the mouth guard/sports drink combination is doing to their teeth.
Sports drinks like Powerade (7tsp/bottle), Gatorade (14tsp/bottle), and Vitamin water (7tsp/bottle) contain large amounts of sugar. This, in turn, feeds the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for creating plaque on your teeth. If left unchecked this plaque can grow beneath the gum line causing gum disease. Another byproduct of these bacteria feeding on the sugar is acid. Over time this acid can eat away at the enamel causing cavities.
Now combine this flood of sugar into the mouth with a mouth guard. The mouth guard gives this sugary fluid a place to sit and surround the teeth for an extended period of time. Having sugar sit on your teeth for this extended period can result in the enamel of your teeth becoming soft and no longer able to protect your teeth in the way it was intended.
Wearing your mouth guard is important to protect you from injury so what can you do to avoid this toxic combination from occurring? Removing your mouth guard before taking a drink can help. Alternating between your sports drink and water will also help rinse away the sugar. Even a quick rinse with water after consuming sports drinks and before you insert your mouth guard will help keep the sugar off your teeth.
The best way to avoid the sugar problem created by the sports drink/mouth guard combination is to just use water to hydrate. It may not taste as good but it will be better for your overall health.