Reversing damage from Kool-Aid and Gatoraid

Hello Dr. Ellie,

I have a son that is about to turn two, and his teeth are stained red from koolaids and sports drinks. And three of his front teeth are no longer smooth. I was reading about the Xylitol and saw that it could help reverse his tooth damage. I have been trying to make homemade flavored water, but he doesn’t like it. Since it is summer he has been drinking alot of the koolaid because milk was making him vomit. Also I had finally gotten him off of formula at around 18 months, using Gatorade. Unfortunately that and the koolaid did quick damage to his teeth. I’m not sure if he would be able to eat the mints and he is definitely too young for the gum. Do you have any suggestions, I feel horrible for him and I’m trying everything I can find. Thank you.


Dear Sara,

There is a lot of information of the website at

Try to give your son a “tooth friendly” food after drinks. A piece of cheese, some banana, or a little xylitol in water (kids are usually fine with it and do not notice: All you need is about a half teaspoon of xylitol in a glass of water).

If the drink will not work try adding xylitol to foods like dipping fresh fruit in some granular xylitol or sprinking it on cereal or yogurt. If he still uses a bottle or sippy cup try to use xylitol water in the cup or at least add a little xylitol to the juice.

If you start diluting the juice with xylitol and water you can gradually wean him off the juice and onto the xylitol. This may be a bit of an effort but you will be happy a couple of years from now.

I would also try to brush his teeth with ACT bubble gum mouthrinse. This is a dilute mouth rinse (obviously he is too young to rinse with it but put a drop of the rinse on a clean toothbrush). You want to try and use xylitol and ACT together because if you do you will be able to encourge these teeth to heal themselves.

Make sure you and other family members have clean toothbrushes and clean your own mouths with xylitol. The bacteria that harm your babies teeth can come from your own mouth. The germs that form cavities live on toothbrushes and also transfer during a kiss or sharing food.

Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions,
Ellie Phillips
Dental Health for Everyone!
26, Corporate Woods,
Rochester NY 14623

Categories: Uncategorized


  • Anonymous says:

    Looks like the media are picking up on this story that sports drinks may be bad for teeth. Of course, Gatorade thinks the study is invalid because they studied teeth outside of the mouth.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Thanks for the article – finally people are talking about the damage to teeth from acidity! The point they all miss is related to how the salive in your mouth deals with acidity.If you have copious amounts of alkaline saliva ( usually healthy young men ) then your natural saliva will wash the acidity away quite quickly and little damage will be done.Maybe the Gatorade company had this segment of the population in mind when they rebuffed the idea of teeth being damaged by an acidic drink. The problem comes if you have a dry mouth with little or no saliva to wash the acidity away. This could be from allergies, asthma or if you are a mouth breather.Also many people have acidic saliva, especially those who are experiencing hormonal changes, pregnancy, adolescence, stress, or are aging and on a poor diet. If you have acidic saliva there will be no mechanism to cope with the acidity from these drinks. It will not matter if you sip the drink, drink through a straw or gulp it down – your mouth will remain acidic and there will be damage to teeth.This damage is only reversed when the pH of the mouth becomes alkaline again.Did anyone at the ADA mention xylitol? Ha! It is really common sense if you think about it. The part most people miss about coping with mouth acidity is individual variation, the differences between men and women, and the specific risk factors – the reasons for dry mouth or why saliva is acidic. In all cases xylitol will help and protect teeth from this acidity and stimulate remineralization.Thanks for the comment.Ellie

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