At Lindley Dental we advise our patients on how their food choices can affect their oral health. Here are some things to look out for.
Top teeth enemies
Sugar is one of the main risks to our oral health can be found most commonly in sweets, pastries, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and chocolate. Sugar can react with bacteria found in the plaque on our teeth and produce harmful acids, which can eventually cause dental decay. It takes saliva up to an hour to neutralise acid attacks so limit how often you eat sugar – the more frequently you eat it, the less likely your mouth is to recover.
Look out for ‘hidden’ sugars in ingredients lists such as sucrose, fructose, dextrose and maltose. These are still sugars even if they disguise themselves under a different name!
Fizzy drinks are packed full of sugar and acid and are the number one enemy to our teeth! One standard 330ml can of cola contains as much as seven teaspoons of sugar. Diet fizzy options aren’t that much better either, as they still contain the same high levels of tooth-eroding phosphoric and citric acids found in the high sugar varieties.
High-acid fruits and juices (especially orange, grapefruit and any citrus fruit)
While eating fresh fruit is an important part of a healthy diet, citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits contain powerful acids so are best consumed quickly and as part of a meal. This also applies to fruit juices, so avoid sipping on these throughout the day. Always dilute fruit juice when giving it to children, and only give it to them at mealtimes.
Remaining hydrated during exercise is very important, but think twice before reaching for a bottle of sports drink. They are notorious for brimming with sugar and acid – much like a normal fizzy drink. Our mouths are also more vulnerable during exercise as we tend to have a drier mouth and produce less saliva, leaving us even more susceptible to decay. Instead, stick to water during exercise which is 100% tooth-friendly and will keep you fresh and hydrated.
Gooey sweet treats such as toffees and caramels can do a lot of damage to our teeth. Not only do they have a high sugar content, their sticky nature enables them to cling to our teeth long after we’ve finished eating them, exposing our mouths to prolonged acid attacks. This rule also applies to dried fruits such as raisins, apricots and prunes, even though we often see them as ‘healthy’ snack foods.
Did you know? Many smoothies contain over five teaspoons of sugar per 250ml serving, which is almost as high as full-fat cola!
Although they contain vitamins and count towards your ‘five-a-day’, enjoy smoothies and dried fruits in moderation as they contain very high levels of fructose – a natural sugar found in fruit. Their sticky consistency also means that they cling to teeth, so try to avoid snacking on them between meals.