Dental care is important, it’s something that should have a place in everybody’s daily hygienic rituals, but according to Dr. SharonAthletics and Dental Health Colvin athletes in particular can have some special concerns. Sharon Colvin has been a dentist for almost 30 years, and she believes that it’s the sugary drinks, sweating, dry mouth, and the falling that takes the biggest toll on the athlete’s mouth. It’s the sugary drinks such as Gatorade, as well as some of the protein shakes, and protein and meal replacement bars (which are typically high in fermentable carbohydrates such as sucrose, fructose, glucose) that are damaging to the athlete’s teeth. Food particles left on the teeth from a protein bar, combined with dry mouth, can create the perfect storm as it contributes to tooth decay because there is not enough saliva in the mouth to wash the food away from the teeth. Instead the food particles stay on the teeth, and as a result can lead to rampant tooth decay.

Decay can be prevented by a few small changes to the athlete’s routine, one of them is the removal of sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade.  Instead of bringing along a Gatorade, bring water with you and ditch the sugary bar and bring some fruit instead, unless of course you eat properly a few hours before your workout.  If you are working out for less than two hours you should concentrate on hydration, unless of course you are doing a very intense workout (in either regard, listen to your body). If you are planning on having an intense workout session, make sure you bring something that will replace electrolytes lost; eating carbs and protein during a rigorous workout is necessary, so if you are planning on a rigorous workout bring along a banana, raisins, or an orange with you; this is especially important to do when you have just water with you. So do your teeth a favor and ditch the sugary drinks! Instead you can make your own and listed below are some great homemade sport drink ideas to try, your teeth will thank you for it!

1. Juice an apple, orange, lemon and celery

Not just good for your teeth, celery has a natural source of potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and chloride. While apple’s offer potassium and provide a natural sweetness, and lemons are the highest electrolytes containing citrus fruit. For added benefit add in salt and honey.

2. Make a kale, banana, and almond milk smoothie

Bananas and almonds are both a great source of potassium and magnesium, while kale is an excellent source of calcium and magnesium.

3. Stir maple syrup, lemon juice, baking soda, sea salt into 8 ounces of water

Weird, yes, but it’s a great mixture for serious endurance athletes.

4. Shake up some chia seeds and coconut water

Coconut water by itself is an excellent way to replenish lost electrolytes, but throw in some chia seeds (which can hold 9 times their weight in water!) and you have yourself a powerhouse combination.