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Food and drink that may be affecting your smile

Date: 29 January 2019 Category: ,

Food and drink that may be affecting your smile

At this time of year, we may be taking more notice of the foods that we’re putting on our plates to reach our health goals. But when you’re dishing up your evening meal, or making a mid-morning cuppa, do you think about how this food may be affecting your smile? Hannah Shelley, Patient Care Coordinator at Centre for Dentistry Sheffield Wadsley Bridge, investigates the kinds of food and drink that may be troublesome for our teeth. 

Many of us may dodge the donuts due to their high fat and sugar content, switch to drinks with no added sugar, and cut down on junk food in an effort to look after our bodies and avoid the health problems that may come from weight gain. Your smile, however, may not be something you consider when planning meals but it’s important to be aware of certain foods and drinks that may, over time, have an impact on your oral health.

When we eat, sugars are produced on the surface of our teeth. Bacteria in our mouth feed off of these sugars and produce acid, which can erode the enamel of your teeth.  The more sugary and sticky the food or drink is, the longer it may take for these acid attacks to clear. Repeated and long lasting acid attacks on your smile may cause over time issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.

To find out more about acid erosion, read our blog all about pH levels in the mouth. It’s best to keep sugary foods and drinks to strictly meal times, rather than snacking throughout the day so that these acid attacks on your teeth are limited. We can also try and cut down on certain foods which are particularly known for creating acid and building plaque…

  • Sour Sweets – It is no surprise that eating lots of sweets is bad for your teeth, but sour sweets are renowned to be even worse as they contain a higher amount of acid which are tougher on your teeth. The sticky nature of these treats also means that the acid is more difficult to clear in the mouth, meaning that there’s more time for the enamel to be eroded.
  • White Bread – When chewing bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar and bread can also be quite sticky when eating, so may end up between the teeth. A great way of cleaning your teeth during the day is by using interdental brushes, or even sugar free chewing gum will help.
  • Alcohol – Some alcohol has a lot of sugar in it and some drinks, like red wine, may stain your teeth. Another side effect of drinking alcohol is dehydration. Saliva helps us to rinse away the acids produced by the plaque bacteria and so if you’re a little thirsty after having a few tipples, it may be reducing the amount of saliva you’re producing. One good tip for reducing the sugar in your drinks is to use sugar-free mixers if you’re drinking spirits. Check out our blog on alcohol and our smiles for more information.

These foods and drinks may seem to be the obvious choices when considering what to cut down for your dental health, but there are a few more that you might be surprised to see…

  • Citrus Fruits and Strawberries – Can be quite acidic which can wear away at your enamel, try and keep eating fruit and drinking juice to mealtimes.
  • Dried Fruit – Dried fruit can contain a high amount of sugar. The sticky consistency causes the fruit to stick in-between and on the teeth.
  • Almonds – Whole almonds can do a battle with your teeth, the hard texture can put stress on your teeth and can result in cracks and fractures. To avoid this, try cracking the almonds first or buying them already cut into slivers.

We’re not suggesting that you cut out these foods and drinks all together – everything is fine in moderation. Try and keep sugary foods and drinks to meal times and chew sugar-free gum to help clear the acid produced after a meal. Tepe Easypicks are great to keep in your handbag or desk at work so you can clean between your teeth after lunch. Remember the most important part of your oral health routine: brush for two minutes, twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and visit your dentist regularly.

Centre for Dentistry Sheffield Wadsley Bridge is now accepting new patients, so if it’s time for your check-up, why not make an appointment? You can contact their friendly team by calling 0114 317 7002 or email sheffield-wb@centrefordentistry.com. Not in the Sheffield area? We have 24 practices across the country with appointments available. Get in touch with your local team,  alternatively, you can register and book online, or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.