Here, dentist and founder of Swirlit Angie Lang has rounded up all the foods and drinks that are causing more harm than good.
1. Lemon water and apple cider vinegar
While the jury is out on the health benefits on drinking lemon water and apple cider as a health tonic for digestion, there is conclusive evidence on the negative effects of drinking these for your teeth. The enamel erosion it causes as a result of the high acidity which dissolves the white outer enamel layer of teeth. This leads to yellowing teeth (because you expose the internal part of the tooth) which become see-through, thin, weak and chip easily. This damage happens over time, so if you want to have beautiful, healthy, and strong teeth in your future, ditch the acids today.
2. Drinking fruit juice
Whilst some of us might consider fruit juice as a healthy drink option but it’s packed with sugars and acids which can strip the teeth of their enamel, which leaves the inner parts of the teeth open to decay and damage. The average 500ml orange juice contains 10.5 teaspoons of sugar and has a pH of 3.6 which can cause some serious damage if the teeth are continually exposed.
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3. Effervescent vitamin tablets
A fizzy vitamin drink can be just the boost you need when you’re feeling low on energy, but citric acid and ascorbic acid from vitamins dissolves tooth enamel causing dental erosion. Rinse your mouth with tap water afterwards and wait half an hour before brushing teeth to reduce the risk of losing your enamel as you to try to lose the hangover!
4. Brushing too soon after eating/drinking
A strange as it sounds brushing your teeth too soon after eating can be seriously detrimental to your oral health. After eating acidic or sugary foods the acid remains within the mouth before the saliva can break it down and neutralize it. That means that if you brush your teeth immediately after eating, you are pushing the acid and sugar directly into your teeth, causing a lot of damage. Think about what happens when you put bleach on your bathroom grout before you scrub it, this is what you would be doing if you brush your teeth after eating something acidic/sugary. I recommend waiting for 30 minutes after eating/drinking anything but water, to brush your teeth.
5. Chewing ice
While some of us may enjoy the ice in our drinks, it can cause microcracks within the teeth. As tempting as it may be to chew on ice, try resist the urge next time, you don’t want to be making any emergency trips to the dentist!
6. Eating chips
Chips are a common snack food and we can all be susceptible to cravings, but potato chips are loaded with starch, which can get caught in the deep grooves (fissures) and between your teeth. This will eventually turn into sugar and then cause a build-up of plaque, which will erode your teeth.
7. Snacking often
Most of us would be guilty of snacking throughout the day, however snacking on foods that have many hidden sugars can cause acid attacks on your tooth enamel. After a meal, the pH in the mouth drops making the mouth more acidic, but saliva is produced which neutralises the acids. However, if snacking regularly the saliva has less time to recover the pH meaning that the mouth remains in a more acidic state and acids aren’t fully neutralized. So, try to avoid snacking!
8. Regularly drinking hot tea or coffee
We all love our morning hot tea or coffee, but they both contain tannins, which build up on your tooth enamel and can cause staining. They can also dry your mouth out, which reduces your ability to produce saliva, which is critical for acid neutralisation. Avoid adding sugar in your tea and coffee to avoid dental decay.
9. Energy drinks
Energy drinks are often a staple within many people’s fridges, but the truth is that these drinks are packed with sugar and are extremely acidic. The average energy drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar, which is equivalent to a 600ml soft drink! Also, the average acidity in an energy drink is from 2.6-3.6, which will cause the breakdown of enamel. Opting for tap water or Swirlit would be a good alternative.
10. Drinking bottled water
Often consumers fall into the trap of thinking that bottled water is safer than tap water, when in fact this is a myth! Australian tap water is treated and subject to tight regulations and is the best and cheapest drink you can get for your teeth. Also, some bottled water can have very low pH levels, as low as 4.6, which can cause damage. Not to mention the environmental impact of the plastic waste!
11. Drinking kombucha
Kombucha may be the new ‘it’ drink, and has may benefit your gut health, but it can cause acidic damage to the teeth. As kombucha must have a pH of 3.5 or below to ensure that harmful bacteria won’t grow in the bottle, but it can be as damaging to your teeth as a soft drink!
We all love to grab some popcorn when we are sitting down for a movie, but the popcorn can cause quite a bit of damage to your teeth. Just like ice, un-popped popcorn kernels can chip your teeth. As well as the outer shell of the kernels getting stuck between your teeth which can cause gum irritation and inflammation!