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SENSITIVE TEETH

Smooth on the Body, Harsh on the Teeth

I’m sure there have been occasions where because you were in such a rush to get to work, you missed out on preparing yourself the most important meal of the day – breakfast. To rectify this, you hit up a local fruit smoothie joint, proud of yourself for choosing fresh fruit over an everything bagel lathered in cream cheese.

While it’s true, a fruit smoothie is more nutritionally sound, it’s not the best option for your pearly whites due to the high amounts of sugar it contains that eat away at the enamel that protect the teeth.

A large percentage of the country believes that consuming fruits are good for your teeth, 30 percent, in fact, according to a poll conducted by Oral B and the British Dental Health Foundation. And why shouldn’t they? After all, if fruit is good for your body, how could it be bad for your teeth?

Truth be told, fruit and other vegetables like tomatoes contain acid that eats away at teeth enamel. But unless citrus fruits and acidic vegetables are consumed at majorly prodigious rates, they’re not going to cause any damage to speak of. What will cause significant damage, according to the British Dental Health Foundation, is when fruit smoothies are combined with sugar or other additives (like ascorbic acid) that make the smoothie sweeter.

“The high concentration of sugar and acids means that they can do real damage to the teeth if sipped throughout the day,” said Nigel Carter the chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, again, the organization that’s warned against consuming fruit smoothies in excess. Carter went on to say that continuously sipping on fruit smoothies causes acidic damage for up to an hour after sipping the drink. In other words, every time you take a sip, the hour’s worth of damage starts anew.

If you’re someone who drinks these smoothies regularly and you’ve been experiencing sensitivity to cold, it’s probably not a coincidence. The wearing away of tooth enamel leads to this kind of sensitivity. On the other hand, it could very well be a coincidence. Other things that might lead to teeth sensitivity include brushing too hard, gum disease, a worn filling or a cracked tooth. Whatever it may be, it’s best to talk to your dentist about it.

If you’re fairly confident that fruit smoothies are to blame, it’s probably wise to lay off them for a while. Doctors advise that one way to minimize the damage sugary smoothies cause is by brushing before you drink them. Because acid weakens teeth, brushing immediately afterward leaves them exposed to greater potential for permanent damage as a result of harsh brushing (another potential explanation for sensitive teeth).

This is not meant to discourage anyone from enjoying a tasty fruit smoothie. However, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that all fruit smoothies are healthy. The next time you order your favorite flavor, ask them if they add sugar. If they do, ask that sugar not be added. If that’s not possible, it’s time to find a new smoothie shop.

 

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