Energy drink makers would have you believe their products are a healthy rehydration choice for athletes while also giving them keener focus and renewed vitality. But before adding them to your sports regimen, you should also consider what effect these beverages could have on your teeth.
Energy drinks are similar in ingredients to sports drinks like Gatorade® and PowerAde®, which mostly consist of water, salts, vitamins, sugars and acids. In addition, energy drinks like Red Bull® and Monster Energy® add caffeine to boost energy.
Besides their sugar content, the main threat from a dental health perspective for both of these drinks is their acidity, which can severely erode tooth enamel. The irreplaceable loss of enamel significantly increases your risk of tooth decay and eventually tooth loss.
The threat of enamel erosion is especially pronounced whenever the mouth’s pH level falls below 5.5. The acidity of both sports and energy drinks falls well below this mark. In one experimental study samples of enamel exposed to a number of sports drinks lost an average of 1.5% of mineral content over five days; energy drinks more than doubled that loss at 3.1%.
Given the potential harm these beverages, especially energy drinks, can cause your teeth, you should exercise caution when consuming them. In fact, our best advice is for you to avoid energy drinks altogether, for your overall health as well as your teeth’s sake.
Unless you’re participating in a physically intense sport, water is your best source for hydration after exertion. Â If you do drink sports beverages, try to limit them to meal times when your saliva is most active to neutralize mouth acid. You can also rinse out your mouth with water after drinking to help further reduce mouth acidity.
As an athlete, you’ve trained your body to be at its optimum physical peak. Don’t let energy or sports drinks take the edge off your health, especially your teeth.
If you would like more information on the effects of sports or energy drinks on dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sports and Energy Beverages Bathe Teeth in Erosive Acids.”
Everyone loves a concert where there's plenty of audience participation… until it starts to get out of hand.Â Recently, the platinum-selling band Fifth Harmony was playing to a packed house in Atlanta when things went awry for vocalist Camila Cabello. Fans were batting around a big plastic ball, and one unfortunate swing sent the ball hurtling toward the stage — and directly into Cabello's face. Pushing the microphone into her mouth, it left the “Worth It” singer with a chipped front tooth.
Ouch! Cabello finished the show nevertheless, and didn't seem too upset. “Atlanta… u wild… love u,” she tweeted later that night. “Gotta get it fixed now tho lol.” Fortunately, dentistry offers a number of ways to make that chipped tooth look as good as new.
A small chip at the edge of the tooth can sometimes be polished with dental instruments to remove the sharp edges. If it's a little bigger, a procedure called dental bonding may be recommended. Here, the missing part is filled in with a mixture of plastic resin and glass fillers, which are then cured (hardened) with a special light. The tooth-colored bonding material provides a tough, lifelike restoration that's hard to tell apart from your natural teeth. While bonding can be performed in just one office visit, the material can stain over time and may eventually need to be replaced.
Porcelain veneers are a more long-lasting solution. These wafer-thin coverings go over the entire front surface of the tooth, and can resolve a number of defects — including chips, discoloration, and even minor size or spacing irregularities. You can get a single veneer or have your whole smile redone, in shades ranging from a pearly luster to an ultra-bright white; that's why veneers are a favorite of Hollywood stars. Getting veneers is a procedure that takes several office visits, but the beautiful results can last for many years.
If a chip or crack extends into the inner part of a tooth, you'll probably need a crown (or cap) to restore the tooth's function and appearance. As long as the roots are healthy, the entire part of the tooth above the gum line can be replaced with a natural-looking restoration. You may also need a root canal to remove the damaged pulp material and prevent infection if the fracture went too far. While small chips or cracks aren't usually an emergency (unless accompanied by pain), damage to the tooth's pulp requires prompt attention.
If you have questions about smile restoration, please contact us and schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty As Never Before” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
If you need to replace your missing teeth, find out if dental implants are the best option.
Besides the frustration and anxiety surrounding losing a permanent tooth, now you are dealing with an obvious and unsightly gap. Let our Scarsdale, NY, dentist Dr. Jeffrey Pike replace your smile with a restoration that is as close to a natural tooth as possible. There’s a reason so many people are turning to dental implants to regain a full smile again.
What is a dental implant?
This dental prosthetic is completely different from other tooth replacement options like dental bridges or dentures because it is designed to function like tooth roots. There are many different kinds of dental implants, but these metal posts or screws are pretty small and are made from a durable but biocompatible metal like titanium.
There are three different components that make up your dental implant restoration: the metal implant, the abutment, and a dental crown. Our Scarsdale, NY, restorative dentist is here to break down what these different pieces do and why they are important.
The Metal Implant
As we mentioned earlier, this is the part that acts like a tooth root. While you don’t see tooth roots, they are still vitally important to a healthy and strong jawbone. When you lose a permanent tooth, it can cause serious issues such as bone loss and even changes to the structure of your face. To prevent this, we place a metal implant into the jawbone to take the place of your lost tooth root. Over the course of several months, the bone and tissue will begin to regrow around the implant to become one.
Once the implant and bone have fully integrated, the next step is to add the abutment. If you’ve ever had to get a dental crown or know the process then you know that the tooth has to be prepared and reshaped to accommodate the crown. Think of an abutment as an artificially prepared tooth. This abutment will fit on top of the implant and will serve to connect the implant with the artificial tooth.
If you are only missing one tooth, then a single dental crown will be secured on top of the abutment. These dental crowns are made from tooth-colored materials to match the rest of your smile. If you have multiple missing teeth, several implants can be placed throughout the jawbone to support a dental bridge or dentures.
If you are ready to find out more about dental implants and whether you might be the perfect candidate for treatment, call our Scarsdale, NY, dental office today. You deserve to have a healthy smile and dental implants could be the solution.
5 Reasons Flossing is More Important Than You Believe
Chances are that when you visit us for a checkup you are sure to hear the question: “Have you been flossing regularly?” For some patients the answer is an easy yes. Brushing your teeth twice a day, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), is a good start, but many don’t follow recommendation to floss at least once a day.
Flossing plays an important role in dental health. Floss is an interdental cleaner, which means it is designed specifically to clean the tight spaces between the teeth. A toothbrush is designed to clean the outer surfaces of the teeth and gums. If you are simply only brushing your teeth those nooks and crannies are left uncleaned.
There is increasing evidence that suggest that proper dental care can help prevent serious diseases, some of which can be life threatening. So the important step of flossing can do much more than keep your smile happy and healthy. Still not convinced?
Here are 5 reasons why you should add flossing to your dental routine today:
1- Flossing and brushing are more effective than brushing alone
Often people think that just because they are avid brushers that it’s enough to maintain good oral health, but adding flossing to your routine will give you optimal results that brushing alone cannot achieve. The ADA suggests that flossing before you brush will make brushing your teeth more effective. When there is less plaque between your teeth the fluoride in toothpaste can get to more parts of your teeth.
2- Flossing protects your gums
You can avoid the dreading scraping your teeth receive during a dental visit with good flossing habits. Floss plays a major role in the places where the teeth and gums meet. When food particles get trapped there it leads to plaque, and overtime plaque will harden and form tartar, a thick deposit that can only be professionally removed with a scraper. When left untreated it can lead to gum disease and eventually tooth and bone loss.
3- Flossing can save you money
Cha-ching! Health costs continue to rise and insurance benefits continue to diminish. This means more out of pocket payments for visits to health professionals. With preventative actions, such as making flossing a habit, you are less likely to find yourself in need of costly treatments.
4- Flossing helps prevent other diseases
Research has shown that bacteria that lives inside an unhealthy mouth can be harmful to the rest of the body, which can lead to heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, so if periodontal disease (disease of the teeth, gums, and mouth) are a contributing factor, flossing once a day is a simple step to help with your long-term health.
5- Brighter whiter teeth
Simply flossing your teeth can make them look brighter by removing plaque and excess food particles that you may not see in the mirror or in areas that your toothbrush doesn’t reach. So if you are thinking of using a tooth whitening agent, try re-committing to daily flossing and twice-daily brushing with some whitening toothpaste. This will often improve the appearance of stained teeth.
Hopefully this list has convinced you reconnect with the abandoned floss in your bathroom closet. Set it on the bathroom sink to help remind you to floss until it become a no-brainer habit. Happy flossing!
Causes of Mouth Sores, Cold Sores, and Canker Sores
Mouth sores are not fun. They can be painful and unsightly. There are many different kinds of mouth sores that can be caused by any number of things, including fungal infections, viral infections, bacterial infections, ill-fitting dentures, sharp edges of broken teeth or fillings or loose orthodontic wire from braces, just to name a few.
The two most common mouth sores are canker sores and cold sores.
Canker sores are ulcers that appear inside your mouth, usually on the tongue, lips, gum line, throat or on the inside of your cheeks. They have a white middle and a red border. There is no definite cause to canker sores. A few experts think that these are caused by viruses, bacteria or immune system problems.
Canker sores are not contagious and usually heal by themselves in one or two weeks. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics and antimicrobial mouth washes may be prescribed for temporary relief. We recommend avoiding spicy, hot or acidic foods as these can irritate the sores. The prevention of secondary infections can be done through antibiotics and oral bandages.
Cold sores are different from canker sores in many ways with the biggest differences being that cold sores appear on the outside of your mouth and are very contagious. Cold sores can also be called fever blisters or herpes. They are groups of painful, red, raised blisters that usually appear around the lips, and under the nose or chin. These blisters can cause painful lesions that can erupt.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes type 1 virus. They generally don’t pose serious health problems, but are very contagious. The herpes virus is spread through saliva and direct skin contact. The vast majority of people with the herpes virus first contracted the virus via infections in childhood. These infections include symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu including fever, headache, nausea, vomiting sore throat and painful, open mouth sores. The herpes stays within a person forever as there is no cure. It typically stays dormant for many years. When it gets active, that is when cold sores, or fever blisters, appear.
Cold sores usually “crust” in 4 days and completely heal in 10 days. To help speed up the healing and reduce the pain of cold sores, some medications may be prescribed. The most common medicines include acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). Though these medications can’t get rid of the herpes virus, it can help prevent the oncoming cold sores.
Besides medication, there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid a cold sore outbreak. Keep the affected area clean and don’t touch the affected area, which means no picking at the crusts over the sores. Avoid kissing and sharing utensils, glasses and towels.
Though cold sores are generally not a health concern, they can be dangerous to those with a weakened immune system. Cold sores may be a cause for concern if:
- Lip or mouth sores persist longer than one week
- The sores make it hard for you to talk or swallow
- You develop a fever
- You have a second outbreak of blisters
There are many different mouth sores, but the most common are canker sores and cold sores. Bacterial infections, cuts, viral infections, fungal infections, and ill-fitting dental mouth ware are common causes to many mouth sores. We can help you avoid many common mouth sores through a wide range of preventative and metal-free dental services.
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