Sports Drinks and Your Teeth

Reaching for a sports drink may seem like a smart way to rehydrate during a big game or after completing your exercise regimen, but you may not be as educated as you think. Consumption of sports drinks is on the rise, with 62 percent of American teenagers drinking at least one a day. That’s why it’s important to inform consumers that these drinks which are touted to help your body can also take a toll on your health, at least on your oral health. Let’s find out exactly how sports drinks can negatively impact your teeth.


What makes sports drinks harmful?

You might guess that sugar is what makes these drinks less appealing. It’s true that you should avoid the brands heavy in sugar, but that’s actually not your teeth’s biggest enemy in sports drinks. It’s the high acid content that presents the most danger. Researchers have found that sports drinks have so much acid that they can start damaging your teeth after just five days of regular consumption.


Aren’t they better than drinking soda?

Most people choose these drinks thinking they will enhance their sports performance, and that they’re a better option than soda. Sports drinks are not that different than soda because they contain as much or more sugar. It’s simply not true that sports drinks are healthier for your teeth than soda.


What kind of damage can they do?

The acid in sports drinks can cause irreversible damage to your teeth. They erode your enamel, which is the shiny outer layer of your teeth, causing them to become sensitive to temperature changes and to touch. It also increases your risk of decay and cavities.


How can I avoid harming my teeth?

If you just can’t give up sports drinks, at least try to minimize the amount you consume. Rinse your mouth with water afterwards, but don’t brush your teeth immediately because it might spread the acid around your mouth. Wait about an hour for the pH level in your mouth to normalize, and then brush. You can also chew sugarless gum after having a sports drink, which increases your saliva flow and helps to return your mouth’s acidity levels back to normal.

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The Causes of Crooked Teeth

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so when you have crooked teeth it really impacts the way you feel about yourself. You may not even allow yourself to smile at all! Have you ever wondered why your teeth are crooked in the first place?

 

Genetics

Experts say the most common reason behind misaligned or crooked teeth is that it’s an inherited trait. Just like the color of your eyes or hair, you may be predisposed to having teeth that aren’t in straight alignment. Some genetic conditions can influence your bite, making top and bottom teeth improperly meet when you close your mouth. The pressure on your teeth from a misaligned bite can produce crooked teeth.

 

Mouth and jaw shape

Another reason for teeth being out of place is that your mouth may be too small. Your teeth become crowded and shift in order to make space for all your teeth to fit. Also, it’s possible your upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size or didn’t form correctly.

 

Timing

Early loss of baby or adult teeth can both result in making the teeth left behind become crooked. Tooth overcrowding can occur when permanent teeth replace the baby teeth. Misalignment of teeth can happen when adult teeth shift to take over the spots where adult teeth have fallen out.

 

Trauma

Jaw or facial trauma often shifts your teeth out of place. Your jaw may also become misaligned due to an injury. In fact, traumas can cause some of the most severe cases of crooked teeth.

 

Bad habits

Common oral health issues during childhood may cause overlapping and twisted teeth. These include habits like thumb sucking, prolonged use of a pacifier or bottle, and tongue thrusting. These behaviors may apply force to the teeth and cause them to shift into improper positions.

 

Disease

Gum disease can impact the position of your teeth, especially when you lose teeth due to advanced gum disease called periodontitis. Your remaining teeth may shift with the extra space in your mouth. Also, diseases such as cancer can result in mouth or jaw tumors that alter the location of your teeth and jaw.

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Nail Biting: A Habit Worth Breaking

Most people who bite their nails wish they didn’t do it. If you’re a nail biter, you probably know that it spreads germs and leaves your nails looking unattractive. But did you know that it can harm your teeth? Let’s find out the connection between nail biting and tooth damage, and learn some ways to stop this nasty habit.

What does nail biting do to my teeth?
Just like chewing on hard items like ice, nails are hard and put stress on your teeth when you bite down on them. With time, your teeth will weaken and your teeth can chip or break. Since nail biting is a repetitive habit, constant chewing on your teeth wears them down faster than they should. Your teeth also can become more sensitive when the enamel is worn down. Additionally, biting your nails can move your teeth out of place. Your gums are at risk too from the additional stress the nail biting puts on them, eventually leading to gum disease and even tooth loss.


What if I wear braces?

Braces already add pressure on your teeth, so nail biting can stress them even more. The roots of your teeth can be weakened, which leads to problems like tooth loss.

How can I stop biting my nails?
Here are some tips to help you stop the nail biting habit:

  • Get a hobby that uses your hands, like video games, knitting, or painting.
  • Occupy your mouth by chewing sugarless gum, sucking on mints, or eating carrot sticks.
  • Add foods to your diet containing calcium and magnesium because they help repair and grow your nails.
  • Cover your nails with tape, petroleum jelly, fake nails (for girls), or foul-tasting liquid.
  • Get manicures to make your nails look nice, so you will be less inclined to bite them.

 

Weston FL Cosmetic and Family Dentist

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Making Your Smile Shine

A bright, healthy smile is a goal for most people. It takes care and good habits to achieve that goal however. Of course, brushing and flossing are the most obvious way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. There are some additional ways of improving your smile and making it last for a long time.
See your dentist regularly
Experts recommend seeing your dentist every six months. Your dentist will examine your entire mouth to make sure everything looks healthy, and clean your teeth to get rid of plaque buildup and stains.

Choose what you eat carefully
A nutritious diet promotes overall wellness and oral health. A balanced intake of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins should be included. Crunchy fruits and vegetables also gently remove plaque from your teeth and gums.

Rinse your mouth
After drinking or eating foods that have a reputation for staining teeth, you should rinse your mouth with water if you’re unable to access a toothbrush at the time.


Quit using tobacco products

Smoking and using other tobacco products develops hard-to-remove stains on your teeth. It also creates bad breath, and increases your risk of oral cancer.

Chew sugarless gum with xylitol

A natural sweetener, xylitol has been added to many sugarless gums and candies. It also is beneficial in lowering the levels of oral bacteria, which in turn reduces your risk of cavities.


Break bad habits

Don’t chew on items like fingernails and pens, and don’t use your teeth as a tool to open things. These habits can fracture or chip your teeth.

Listen to your body

Don’t ignore your body’s warning signs that something might require treatment. If you have a toothache or gums that bleed easily, see your dentist as soon as possible so that you can catch problems before they worsen.

Play smart

If you participate in sports, ask your dentist about wearing a mouthguard to protect yourself from injuries.

 

Dr. Thanos is a family & cosmetic dentist in Weston Florida

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