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Sports Drinks Can Cause Tooth Erosion
While sipping on sports drinks all day may provide an energy boost, this popular practice is also exposing people to levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion and hypersensitivity, NYU dental researchers have found.
Dr. Mark Wolff, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiology & Comprehensive Care at New York University College of Dentistry, and his team found that prolonged consumption of sports drinks may be linked to a condition known as erosive tooth wear, in which acids eat away the tooth's smooth hard enamel coating and trickle into the bonelike material underneath, causing the tooth to soften and weaken. The condition affects one in 15 Americans and can result in severe tooth damage and even tooth loss if left untreated.
Brushing teeth immediately after consuming a sports drink can compound the problem of tooth erosion, because softened enamel is very susceptible to the abrasive properties of toothpaste.
To prevent tooth erosion, consume sports drinks in moderation, and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, to allow softened enamel to re-harden. If you frequently consume sports drinks, ask your dentist if you should use an acid-neutralizing remineralizing toothpaste to help re-harden soft enamel.
You can also help protect your smile by drinking everything through a straw. Position the straw towards the back of your mouth. "This will limit the amount of time the beverage is in contact with your teeth," says Dr. William Lee, member of the Massachusetts Dental Society, president of the Massachusetts Academy of General Dentistry, and a general dentist in Dorchester.
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