It would seem like we learn of something else that isn’t good for our teeth just about every day.
First it was sugar, then it was using the wrong toothbrush, and now? It’s drinking tea and eating salt and vinegar crisps. Yep, you heard it. Herbal teas and crisps. There’s a good chance you do one or both of these things daily. We’re guilty too! But why are these two things causing such a stir among dentists?
But why teas and crisps?
An investigation by scientists at King’s College London into why some people suffer tooth erosion while others don’t, has found that it’s not just what people eat and drink, but how they eat and drink.
The King’s team found that eating and drinking acidic food and drinks, particularly between meals, carried the greatest risk. The study also found that who consumed acidic drinks twice a day between meals, such as soft drinks, water with a slice of lemon or hot fruit flavoured teas, were more than 11 times more likely to have moderate or severe tooth erosion.
What did the team find out?
Looks like we’re going to have to learn to love regular still water if we want to look after our teeth! The team at King’s College discovered that if these drinks
were consumed alongside a meal, that the chances of erosion were halved. Most people consume acidic food and drink daily. We do it without even thinking! Even foods and drinks that are branded as healthy, apples, oranges, fruit drinks – they are all acidic and bad for our teeth.
However, not everyone suffers from tooth erosion. This highlights the importance of the way these are consumed. That’s why people like wine tasters, coffee tasters and long-distance drivers are most at risk. This is because their teeth are continuously exposed to acidic foods and drinks for longer periods of time.
The study also found out that:
- Sugar-free soft drinks are as erosive as sugar-sweetened ones – those diet drinks are not so good for us after all!
- Fruit flavoured teas and fruit flavoured sweets, lozenges or medications have large erosive potential when consumed regularly – a bad sign for those who are prone to illness.
- Sipping, swishing, holding or rinsing drinks in the mouth prior to swallowing increases the risk of tooth erosion, as these habits increase the duration and/or force of the contact between the acidic drink and surface of the teeth – Alcohol tasters, beware.
- Drinks are more likely to cause tooth erosion when served hot – try to cut down your consumption of hot teas, coffees and other beverages e.g. Bovril, hot chocolate or Ovaltine.
- Vinegars and pickled products can also lead to tooth erosion – lay off those pickled onions and salt and vinegar crisps!
Tackling Tooth Erosion!
Tooth erosion can cause a whole host of problems if not treated effectively. The effects are irreversible but can be managed by a good dentist! Left untreated, teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold substances. It will alsomake eating, talking, and socialising difficult.
If you are worried about your teeth, and believe you have some of the symptoms of erosion, it’s vital that you see a dentist. If you need to find a dentist, you can do so on www.defactodentists.com. We have thousands of UK dentists listed on our website who are waiting to help you.