Chug, Don't Sip, to Protect Your Teeth

Sipping, it seems, can be hazardous to your family's teeth, because prolonged exposure to drinks can erode the enamel.

Drink your drinks quickly, advises J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore, whose study on the subject appeared in the Journal of General Dentistry. And don't reach immediately for the toothbrush.

"Toothpastes are abrasive," he says. "If you've already softened up the enamel, the last thing you want to do is start scrubbing on it." Instead, he recommends swishing the mouth with plain water, and waiting an hour before you brush.

Meanwhile, beware of orange juice and lemonade! "Anything with a citrus flavor is hard on the teeth - way harder than Coke and Pepsi."

Christina Elston is the contributing health editor for United Parenting Publications.

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