When it comes to taking care of your pearly whites, it’s more than just brushing twice a day and flossing (this important too – here’s your friendly reminder to go see your dentist!) What goes into your mouth between brushes can have a massive impact on whether you hold onto those chompers well into your grey-haired years.
Here are some factors that can contribute to tooth decay and staining:
Whilst there is more to healthy teeth and gums than sugar. Sugars found in food and drinks including confectionery, soft drink, alcohol and fruit juices feed the bacteria that live in your mouth causing them to produce enamel-eroding acid. Swapping sugary drinks for water will improve more than just your waistline!
The carbonation of drinks such as soft drink, champagne and even mineral water also contribute to this acidic environment in your mouth leading to enamel breakdown. These drinks often come along with a stack of sugar which is why soft drinks are so damaging to your teeth! Even those zero drinks contain fizz, so always opt for water to preserve those chompers. If you must enjoy a fizzy drink on occasion, be sure to use a straw to stop the acidic sugary bacteria food swishing around and coating your teeth.
Sticky foods that we often call “healthy” such as dried fruit and honey can be damaging to the teeth as they are both sugar-containing and get stuck in between your teeth. This, in turn, leads to an increased exposure to the food meaning those mouth bugs have longer to eat up all those sugars and produce acid.
Alcohol, tea & coffee
It’s not just sugar, fizz and stickiness that can affect your smile. Alcohol, tea & coffee can lead to teeth staining due to the dark pigments especially red wine, black tea and the humble latte.
What foods and drinks can improve oral health?
(1) Crunchy Veg
I saw this awesome little experiment that a lecturer presented at uni showing how long after you swallowed an Oreo remains well and truly STUCK to those back molars. Following up with a carrot though, the carrot not only left without a trace, it took the Oreo with it too! Just another reason to love your veg and to eat them daily.
(2) Fluoridated Water
Fluoride in our water is safe (despite some preposterous claims – I’m looking at you, Paleo Pete) and prevents dental decay. This tasteless tiny addition to your tap water improves the structure of our teeth at the molecular level, making them more difficult to decay. So ditching the sugar-sweetened drinks for a humble glass of water is really helping your pearly whites.
Why care about your teeth?
Taking care of your teeth from inside and out is important to keep your smile looking great and keeping them around longer so you can enjoy crunchy food right into old age. However, there are a few more serious consequences which include bad breath, links to chronic diseases such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes AND of course the massive toll on your back pocket for all those expensive procedures to keep your teeth healthy.