When it comes to oral health, your diet has a major role to play and unfortunately, many of the foods we love the most are bad news for the teeth and gums. Aside from the obvious culprits, such as sweets and chocolate bars, there are also some products, which you may assume are really healthy, that contain hidden sugars.
Sadly, many of the foods we love to treat ourselves to after a hard week at work or a dedicated few weeks on a healthy eating drive are packed with sugar and therefore bad for the teeth. Cakes, biscuits, ice creams and lollies, mousses and desserts and fizzy pop are all laden with sugar and this means that they increase the risk of damage to the enamel and subsequent cavities.
Aside from the obvious candidates for worst foods for your oral health, there are also some foods and drinks, which you may have thought were a really healthy option, which actually contain a lot of sugar. Smoothies, for example, can often contain more sugar than a bag of sweets or a can of pop and a survey carried out a number of the UK’s leading shop-bought juices and smoothies revealed alarming results. If you are eager to get your 5 a day and you love starting the day with a fruit smoothie, invest in a food blender and make your own, as this way you have control of what goes in it and you can enjoy all the benefits of eating fresh fruit without the perils of loads of added sugar. Fruit juice is another concern, as not only is it sugary, but it is also acidic, which contributes to erosion of the protective enamel. Acidic salad dressings, such as vinaigrette, can also be harmful for the teeth.
What you eat is not the only thing that matters; when you eat is also really important. This is because when you eat foods that are sugary, bacteria in your mouth release acids, which attack and erode the enamel. This softens the enamel temporarily and means that if you eat constantly throughout the day, the enamel is under prolonged attack.
When you brush your teeth, we recommend waiting for at least an hour after eating; this is to prevent damage to the enamel while it is still soft. We also recommend drinking water or milk after eating sugary or acidic foods to neutralise acids in the mouth.