What are the latest offerings in Sports Dentistry?

What are the latest offerings in Sports Dentistry?

What are the latest offerings in Sports Dentistry?

by Dr. Nhien Lu

Northern Virginia Sports dentists often prescribe custom fitted sports mouth guards to athletes to prevent dental problems, but trauma may not be the biggest threat to athletes’ oral health. A June 2012 study published by the Academy of General Dentistry’s clinical journal points to another culprit – sports drinks.

Many young athletes consume these drinks in hopes of boosting their sports performance and increasing their energy levels. Many also believe the drinks are better for their health than sodas and are shocked to learn that consuming sports drinks is like soaking their teeth with acid.

The high acidity levels in most sports drinks contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel, the shiny, hard, white outer layer of the teeth. When the enamel is damaged, the tooth’s inner softer dentine is more susceptible to decay, creating a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

Researchers submerged tooth enamel samples in 13 different sports drinks for 15 minutes four times each day for five days. When not immersed in the beverages, the teeth were stored in artificial saliva. In only five days, the results were telling. The teeth submerged in energy drinks showed twice as much damage as those in other drinks.

These results are particularly alarming because half of American teenagers report drinking at last one sports or energy drink per day. In response, sports dentists are counseling their patients to reduce their intake of these drinks and to rinse the mouth with water after drinking to restore its natural pH balance faster. Athletes who drink the beverages should also refrain from brushing their teeth at least one hour after consumption to prevent rubbing the high levels of acids into the surface of the teeth.

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