We all know the importance of good oral hygiene in looking after our teeth. The biggest culprits are well known, and we all had it drilled into us from a young age that too many fizzy drinks or sweets would cause us problems. However, there are a number of other, everyday things that can also be damaging to our teeth. Here are five things you might not know are really bad for your teeth…
The red stuff is renowned for staining our teeth and notorious for that ‘red wine mouth’ look. Many people opt for white wine, assuming it’s the safer option, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. White wine contains high levels of acidity, which eats away at our enamel, which in fact then leads to your teeth becoming much more vulnerable and susceptible to staining and tooth decay. Whilst this isn’t a solution, and certainly not if you suffer from lactose intolerance, some of the damage can actually be combated by simply doing what many of us already do when we drink wine anyway, eat some cheese. This is because the good properties found in cheese, such as calcium, protein and phosphorus counteract the acidity and help to protect your teeth against the damaging effects of white wine.
Although seen as a nutritious snack and nutrient-dense food, dried fruit is a hidden offender. This is because dried fruit contains something called non-cellulose fibre, which actually causes sugar to collect on the teeth which can then result in cavities if eaten over a long period of time. Fresh fruit is much better for our teeth and our overall health as dried fruit contains a lot more sugar due to the drying and preserving process which usually amounts to a lot more calories gram-for-gram when compared to the fresh versions. If you’re a sucker for the dried varieties, try to eat them in moderation, and make sure you brush and floss your teeth well after eating them.
Cough/Sore Throat Medicine
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but what does it do to our teeth? We always think of cough medicine as being good for our health, so not many people would think to brush their teeth after taking it, but this could be a huge mistake. Cough syrup and lozenges contain enamel-destroying levels of sugar which can slowly cause damage to your gnashers. Taking cough syrup before bed is particularly problematic as it will be left to attack your teeth through the night. If you aren’t able to immediately brush your teeth after taking the medicine, consider the sugar-free options now widely available. You could also try chewing some sugar-free gum as it helps the mouth to produce more saliva, the mouth’s natural defence against acid.
Swimming pools seem pretty harmless against our teeth right? Think again! Damage caused by chemically treated pools happens more than you would think. This is due to the pH level of the pool and when it’s not right (either too high or too low) it can be destructive against our enamel. The correct pH of a pool is between 7.2 to 7.8, however, this information can be hard to get hold off. You could consider buying your own testing kit, to ensure your teeth won’t be at risk before you take a dip, or alternatively, you might want to look into water-tight mouth guards which will offer maximum protection, whatever the pH level may be.
Another unsurprising, damaging demon is our favourite summer BBQ staple, the humble barbeque sauce. This is due to its high sugar content and thick, sticky consistency leading to potential tooth decay, or discolouration. If you think about it, barbeque sauce is so well loved because it’s flavour and richness is dense enough to permeate multiple types of meat and fish which is why it’s not only great for dipping but also marinading. Much like it clings to meat and fish, imagine the same scenario happening in your mouth, except the only thing that’s getting marinated, is your teeth. Like most things, brushing your teeth straight after consumption will help protect against any damage to your teeth. If you’re after a more unusual way to try protecting your teeth, some people swear by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly (yes vaseline) to their teeth. This works wonders at protecting teeth from any potential damaging foods or beverages, particularly if you’ve just had your teeth whitened! We’ll leave that one up to you…