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Can Bodybuilding Supplements Harm Your Teeth?

You've been working out and lifting weights for a while, and you want to take your efforts to the next step. You've researched different protein supplements that can help build muscle and are considering adding one to your diet.

But did you know that many supplements contain a lot of sugar? Given that you're working on becoming more healthy and strong, you likely wouldn't drink the same amount of sugar-filled soda or eat candy regularly. And you may not think that a protein supplement would contain as much sugar as some do, so you may not take the same steps as you would with something you knew contained sugar, such as being careful to brush afterwards. 

Increased Risk of Oral Health Problems

Consuming a sugar-filled drink once or twice a day can lead to increased dental erosion. Here's how: First, the sugar fuels bacteria that are present in your mouth. The bacteria consume the sugar and produce waste, which is generally acidic. This acid wears on your teeth and can erode the outer layer over time, leading to cavities. 

And if you brush immediately after consuming sugar, you may be doing even more damage. Some studies have shown that brushing within 30 to 60 minutes after eating sugar can actually weaken dental enamel more than waiting until an hour has passed.

So to prevent tooth decay, it's important to look for a bodybuilding supplement that is low in sugar, or to be diligent about brushing an hour after consuming your drink.

And in addition to the added sugar, weightlifters who are trying to gain muscle do have another risk factor when it comes to their oral health. Many diet plans for "bulking up" require you to eat several small meals throughout the day. This helps you get the amount of protein you need to grow muscle tissue, but it can mean that there's not much time to attend to your oral health needs. Make sure that you do brush and floss regularly to reduce the impact that all this food -- with or without added sugars -- can have on your teeth.

Other Drawbacks to Sugary Supplements

Your oral health isn't the only problem with sugar-laden supplement drinks. Consuming excess sugar when you are working out can:

  • Keep you from eating clean. If your goal is to get as healthy as possible, the extra sugar could be setting you back.
  • Give you an insulin spike. If you don't consume the supplement drink at exactly the right time after working out, the sugar will cause insulin to be released, which can inhibit your work to reduce fat and can even cause fat gain.
  • Lead to irritability and headaches. Too much sugar can cause you to crash later, with negative results.

Look on the label of the supplement for the total amount of carbohydrates. The amount should be in the 30-60 gram range, and the ingredient list should not contain excess sugars.

Talk to your trainer or your dentist for information on a supplement plan that won't do irreparable harm to your teeth (or visit sites like