Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. It is important to cut down on how often you have sugary foods, which will limit the amount of time your teeth are at risk.
Acidic foods and drinks can be just as harmful to your teeth. The acid wears away the enamel and will leave the dentine uncovered. This is called ‘dental erosion and makes your teeth sensitive and less attractive.
All sugars can cause decay. Sugar can be called many things: sucrose, fructose, maltose and glucose. These sugars can all damage your teeth.
‘No added sugar’ does not necessarily mean that the product is sugar free. It simply means that no extra sugar has been added. These products may still contain sugars such as those listed above.
Some foods and drinks are more acidic than others, and some are acidic enough to attack your teeth directly. Some examples of food and drinks that are highly acidic are vinegars, red wines, cola, pickles, grapefruit, orange juice and lager.
Instead, try cheese, raw vegetables, milk, breadsticks, still water, nuts, plain popcorn, plain yoghurt, rice cakes, cheese scones, unsweetened cereal, crumpets, plain bagels or fresh soup.
The main point to remember is that it is not the amount of sugar you eat or drink, but how often you do it. Sweets are allowed, but it is important to keep them to mealtimes.
1. Cut down on sugar.
Sweet drinks, sweets and lollipops are particularly bad because the teeth are bathed in sugar for a considerable time.
2. Limit sweet foods and juice to mealtimes
Fruit juice contains natural sugars that can cause decay. Dilute juice with water and limit it to mealtimes. Milk and water are best between meals.
3. Sweets and chocolate
Encourage savoury tastes wherever possible but when eating sweets and chocolate do so in one sitting, rather than spreading them through the day, so that the teeth are not exposed to sugar for as long.