8 foods to watch out for
What you are eating matters
Nearly everyone loves something sweet and it is now widely known that sugar was used to replace the salt added to many processed foodstuffs obtained from our local supermarkets. The problem is that coupled with the high levels of sugar used in confectionery means we are generally consuming well above what would be considered a safe limit for our teeth. In some instances, the sweets supplied are so hard they pose a risk as they can cause teeth to crack, chip or break. If you are partial to having something sweet throughout the day try chewing on sugarless chewing gums.
Ice is not for chewing
When it’s hot the first thing we tend to add to our drinks are ice blocks. Whilst they are great at cooling down your drink they do pose a risk if you take them into your mouth. Ice can be extremely hard and possess a risk to your teeth if you bite down on it. Apart from discovering that you may have an exposed nerve or sensitive tooth, you run the risk of chipping or breaking your teeth. You should always be mindful of allowing children to suck on ice cubes as they can very easily be sucked into the back of the throat causing an obstruction to the airway.
Watch your citrus levels
We have all seen the adverts promoting 2 fruit and 5 veg every day to promote healthy dietary habits. The problem can be that constant exposure to foods high in acid can erode the enamel layer protecting your teeth. This can lead to tooth decay. So whilst we recommend maintaining a healthy diet make sure you keep the amount of fruit and fruit based drinks to a reasonable level of consumption. One thing you can do to help reduce the amount of acid in your mouth is to rinse your mouth with water after consuming pure fruit juices or eating fruits high in acid and sugars.
Too much coffee and tea is not good for you
It comes down to the old saying too much of a good thing becomes a not so good thing. Australians have become one of the largest coffee consuming nations in the world. In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. The issue arises if you are adding sugar to your drink. As discussed above, too much sugar is not good for us. The caffeine in coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. A healthy mouth needs to have a level of moisture to keep our gums healthy. Drinking lots of coffee and tea can also stain your teeth. So if you are a big coffee or tea drinker, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the sweeteners to a minimum.
Sticky foods can stick around too long
For some, a healthy snack can be dried fruit. Whilst these have obvious benefits over eating sweets and chips they are sticky. The main issue with sticky foods is that they tend to stick to your teeth, especially in between the teeth which can lead to tooth decay. Some of these dried fruits contain high levels of sugar so again you need to mindful of your levels of consumption. If you are one of those people who consumes a lot of dried fruit then try rinsing your mouth with water once you have finished and floss any bits left between the teeth.
Beware of Chips
Who doesn’t love potato chips and crisps? Whilst they taste great and don’t contain sugar they do contain starch. This tends to get trapped in between your teeth. If you do indulge in snacks like these, make the time to floss that day ensuring you remove all the food particles as these can lead to plaque build-up.
Soft drinks vs water
If you indulge in foods or drinks that contain sugar you increase the levels of plaque bacteria in your mouth. These sugars produce acids that attack your enamel. This is the hard surface of your tooth. Most carbonated soft drinks, including diet sodas, are acidic and bad for your teeth. Drinks that contain caffeine, such as coca cola and other popular soft drinks can also dry out your mouth. Remember a can of coca cola contains around 9 teaspoons of sugar. If you do consume these types of drinks, make sure you increase your water consumption and rinse your mouth.
Alcohol consumption and your teeth
Consuming alcohol can lead to dehydration and dry mouth. People who consume frequent amounts of alcohol may find their saliva flow is reduced over time. This can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Heavy alcohol use also increases your risk of cancer and other diseases.
Regular brushing, a good diet and regular check-ups at your dentist are all important aspects of maintaining your teeth.