In today’s blog, Advanced Dentistry starts a two-part blog series that hopefully answers some of the most common questions asked where it comes to looking after your oral health, while hopefully debunking a few myths in the process.
Do come back next week for part-two!
Oral health and your diet are more intrinsically linked than you may imagine and certainly surpass the basics of simply avoiding sugary drinks (although this is obviously a very important aspect of looking after teeth).
So why is diet so important?
Each time you drink or eat anything sugary, your teeth will be under an acid attack. This can happen for up to one hour after you have consumed. It happens because sugar reacts with bacteria in plaque and this produces a harmful acid. This is why it’s important to be very wary of constantly consuming sugary foods.
Tooth wear and erosion can happen with acidic foods and drinks too as it wears away the enamel (which you cannot get back), leaving the dentine uncovered. Aside from making your teeth more sensitive it can also affect the overall look of your teeth, which is where you may end up having to opt for some aesthetic dentistry to help.
What kinds of foods can help?
If your diet is rich in minerals and vitamins then it will make a difference. For example, vegetables and fruit can be a good alternative to processed sugar and could help you reduce your risk of getting gum disease or losing teeth.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the thing that will lead you towards fillings and even extractions and often affects the aesthetics of your teeth. Decay occurs when sugar reacts with the bacteria and plaque on your teeth. This forms an acid that attacks the teeth and destroys the enamel. Eventually over a period of time, the tooth enamel breaks down and forms a cavity into the dentine. This is where the tooth can decay more quickly and result in your needing a filling.
What kinds of foods cause tooth decay?
All types of sugars can cause you tooth decay including processed sugars but also sugars in fruits – so a balanced diet lower in sugary foods will obviously help you to avoid tooth decay.
It’s a good idea to check the levels of sugars in foods you are eating as you could be surprised to see just how much is in your favourite foods and snacks.
How do acidic foods affect my teeth?
We all know that some foods and drinks are going to be more acidic than others and you should know that some are sufficiently acidic to attack your teeth directly. The acidity of any food or drink product can actually be measured by its ‘pH’ value.
The lower the number then the more acidic the product will be. In fact, anything with a pH of lower than about 5.5 can cause tooth erosion. Alkalines have a high pH number and will cancel out the acid affects and if you find something with a pH value of 7 the you are at the middle of acid and alkali.
So here are some popular items and their pH values!
- vinegar pH 2.0
- red wine pH 2.5
- grapefruit pH 3.3
- orange juice pH 3.8
- lager pH 4.4
- cheddar cheese pH 5.9
- celery pH 6.5
- milk pH 6.9
- breadstick pH 7.0
- mineral water (still) pH 7.6
- walnut pH 8.0
- carrots pH 9.5
Recognise any of your favourites here?
Do come back next week to get the rest of our most common questions for teeth and caring for them.
In the meantime, should you want to improve your smile this year do contact us for an initial consultation. We can help with all kinds of problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and more!