One study shows that over half of elite athletes in the UK suffer from tooth decay, compared to one-third of the general adult population. Overall, the athletes practiced good dental hygiene and were less likely to smoke than non-athletes. However, the athletes were more likely to consume sugary beverages, especially sports drinks, along with nutrition bars that often contain sugar. Since sports beverages contain electrolytes that are necessary for athletes to perform well and stay hydrated, it is advised that they switch to sugar-free options instead of drinking plain water.

Key Takeaways:

  • Studies indicate that despite taking better care of their teeth and avoiding activities that damage teeth, athletes are more likely to have poor dental health.
  • The acidity in sports drinks along with the increased likelihood of an athlete experiencing dry mouth, are important factors to the possibility of tooth decay.
  • Drinking more water or diluting a sports drink with water are two ways of combating the dangers of poor dental health for athletes.

“About half of elite U.K. athletes have signs of tooth decay compared to one-third of adults the same age in the general population.”

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