Debunking the myths about what is and isn’t good for your teethâ€¦
So you reckon you look after your teeth? Think again. A few of those so-called healthy habits could actually be having a negative effect on the state of your pearly whites. Read on to uncover the secret enemies of a dazzling smileâ€¦
1. Fruit juice
Although widely held as good for your health, fruit juices should be approached with caution. While they may be high in vitamins, they are also extremely high in sugar, not to mention lacking the dietary fibre plain old fruit provides.
The high sugar content combined with acidic nature could spell disaster for healthy teeth. Fruit juices are particularly dangerous because of the common belief they are healthier than other drink options, like fizzy juice – which simply isn’t the case.
To get the benefit of fruit juices without harming your teeth, drink along with a meal or a snack to limit the damage. Or chewing sugar-free gum afterwards can neutralise the acid.
2. Bagels, cereal bars and muffins
They might seem like a good idea for breakfast on the go, but they’re packed with sugar and their texture means they tend to stick to your molars causing bacteria to build up throughout the day. Get up a little earlier and have a low sugar cereal or natural yoghurt instead.
3. Sour sweets
Everyone knows sugar coated sweets are a healthy smile’s arch nemesis. But did you know that super sour sweets have an incredibly low pH, some experts say nearly akin to battery acid? Move away from the pick ‘n mix.
4. Diet sodas
Don’t be fooled! They may be low in sugar but the chemicals used to replicate the sweet taste can be equally as harmful to your teeth due to their acidity. If you really need a sweet fix drink fruit juice diluted with equal parts water for a tooth-friendly alternative.
5. Brushing your teeth
While brushing your teeth should be a standard part of your daily hygiene routine, zealous over brushing can damage the protective layer on your teeth and harm gums. Brushing frequently or for too long is harmful too, and won’t make your teeth any cleaner or whiter. Stick to brushing morning and night, and floss regularly to keep your dentist happy.
6. White teeth are healthiest
If you reckon your teeth look healthy enough to skip a visit to the dentist, you’re probably mistaken. Studies have known sparkly white teeth are not necessarily the healthiest or strongest, so even if all looks well it’s still a good idea to visit the dentist regularly. Remember, if you have a Health Cash Plan this could help toward the cost of any dental treatment you need.
7. Being sick
If you have an illness which causes you to throw up quite often this could be causing serious damage to your teeth. Dental erosion occurs due to exposure to stomach acid, so if you’re ill make sure you see a doctor.
8. Home whitening treatments
Many experts warn against teeth whitening treatments you use at home, due to the harsh chemical agents that many packs contain. If instructions are not properly followed you can do serious damage to your teeth and gums, plus at home whitening is not recommended for those with sensitive teeth.
If you really want to go whiter, use a non-abrasive whitening toothpaste and avoid staining food and drink like tea, coffee and red wine.
9. Tongue and lip piercings
Experts have been warning for years that oral piercings can damage enamel and gums, as well as cause your gums to recede which may eventually lead to tooth loss.
That’s right. While in small doses fluoride is good for your teeth, occasionally children aged 8 or under can ingest an excessive amount which causes a problem called fluorosis. This results in a white mottling effect which can eventually turn brown. Remember there is fluoride in most of our water, so the best way to avoid fluorosis is to limit any fluoride supplements to a sensible level.
How do you keep your teeth healthy?