After a hard workout or even just to quench your thirst after routine activities, do you immediately reach for a sports drink? You know, the kind that often come in flavors such as “lemon-lime” and “fruit punch.” Since those beverages usually contain large amounts of sugar and acids, they are more likely to harm tooth enamel.
Parents should be especially wary of sugary sports drinks and carbonated beverages for their young athletes. That’s because their tooth enamel is more porous and can easily be damaged by the low pH in acidic drinks and the acid from the bacteria in dental plaque.
Also out of the picture: energy drinks, sodas, and fruit juice. Their acids and sugars are just as harmful to teeth as those contained in sports drinks. And before you turn to juice for hydration, consider that all fruit juice is naturally packed with decay-causing sugar. It’s best to drink it in small doses, no more than 12 ounces per day.
So, what’s the answer to feeling like yourself again after a tough trip to the gym?
- H2O is the way to go. According to the Council On Sports Medicine and Fitness and Council on School Health, water is usually believed to be sufficient to maintain hydration for most normal activities or workouts.
- Sports drinks can be helpful to athletes who are exercising at a high intensity for 60-90 minutes or more. In those cases, it’s necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes during exercise.
- Got milk? There is more to post-workout recovery than just hydration. Some studies suggest that the combined protein and carb content of low-fat chocolate milk may make it one of the best low-cost drinks for replenishing energy after a workout. It also provides fluids and sodium to aid in post-workout recovery.
While chocolate milk or sports drinks may have their place in hydration or workout recovery, keep moderation in mind. Don’t load your body with unnecessary calories or your teeth with harmful sugars when good old H2O will do the job. Another delicious option is to blend up a quick smoothie with fresh fruit and milk.
Whether you go for water, milk or a smoothie, choosing a healthy drink post-workout is one of the best ways to keep yourself – and your smile – in good shape.