We all know the things that we should avoid in order to keep our pearly whites in tip-top condition – fizzy drinks, coffee, red wine, smoking, sugary sweets; we have heard the warnings about these foods and drinks time and time again. But what you might not know is some of the everyday, and supposedly healthy, things we do and eat that are actually just as damaging towards our dental health…
Although healthy for your body, and full of vitamins and antioxidants, fruit juice contains very high amounts of sugar and acidity which are both bad for your teeth. Some fruit juices even have added sugar that you might not know is there! The natural sugars from fruit are sweet enough so try juices with no added sugar or dilute fruit juice drinks with water. Brush teeth one hour after consuming. Why one hour? That brings us onto our next point….
Brushing too soon after eating
Ironically, what you might think of as looking after your dental health, brushing your teeth too soon after eating or drinking foods with high levels of acidity can actually be detrimental to your teeth. This is because your teeth are porous and brushing them while acid is still in the mouth will push the corrosive acid further into the tooth enamel. Washing your mouth out with water right after food consumption and waiting a further hour before brushing will help to prevent this.
Many of us do it when we have a nice chilled drink, but chomping down on hard frozen ice cubes can, in fact, cause cracks and fractures to your teeth. It could even cause damage to an existing filling! This is because our teeth are designed for chewing food and not extremely hard substances such as ice. So if you want to avoid that trip to the dentist simply let the ice melt in your drink to avoid the temptation.
Crisps are worse than chocolate!
Starchy foods create acid in the mouth as the bacteria in plaque breaks down the starch. This acid can attack the teeth for the next 20 minutes – even longer if the food is stuck between the teeth or if you snack often. Ditch foods that get stuck in your teeth like bread, chips, and dried fruit snacks for those that dissolve quickly like chocolate, caramels, and jelly beans.
If you are going to eat foods high in sugar and starch the best time to eat them is right after a meal. The reason for this is that snacking produces less saliva than a larger meal, meaning that food left in your teeth will be there for a much longer time. Try to avoid snacking if you can or opt for a snack that is low in sugar and starch – veg is a great alternative. This could also save you money on your trip to the shop at lunchtime as well as your dental costs.
Taking on board some of these tips could reduce your trips to the dentist, helping to keep the cost of your dental care or dental insurance to a minimum, but most importantly they will help the long-term health of your teeth!
With a Medicash health plan, policyholders can claim back on dental costs such as hygienist, dental treatments and checkups. You can find out more about our individual or corporate plans, or call our team on 0800 011 2222 to enquire.