The snacks that can harm our teeth

5 years ago

Most of us can`t help but snack throughout the day, but even tit bits that we think are good for our skin and waistlines can damage our teeth.

**Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit juice along with orange juice are considered to have high erosion potential according to dentists. This is because fruit juices and drinks with artificial sweeteners are thought to increase tooth erosion rates as fruit, particularly citrus, contains high levels of acid.

**Fruit yoghurt
Although yoghurt is considered a healthy snack, (especially for children`s lunch boxes,) most parents don`t realise that this nutritious food could be causing severe damage to their kid`s teeth.This is because many yoghurts are highly acidic, causing erosion to our enamel. Not only does some yoghurt contain `added` sugar - a main culprit of tooth decay - certain bacteria in the milk reacts with sugars in the food, triggering acid production and enamel erosion.
Even yoghurts without sugar can cause damage, says Dr Carpenter, because dental erosion can occur from foods and drinks that don`t have sugar in them but do have acids. `However, a lot of these yoghurts do have added sugar, and therefore there is potential to cause both decay and erosion,` he says.
Rather than snacking on yoghurts, the British Dental Health Foundation recommend saving yoghurts for meal times. This is because the amount of acid in our mouth peaks after food for around half an hour before dropping down to a stable level.
Thanks to an increased amount of salts in our saliva after a large meal, the acid in our mouth is neutralised. As an added bonus, these salts remineralise our teeth for two to four hours after eating which is why dentists recommend sticking to meal times, rather than snacking. Eating less frequently limits the amount of acid attacks our teeth experience during the day.

**Sparkling water
We`re always told to drink plenty of water to keep ourselves hydrated throughout the day. But believe it or not sparkling water is almost as damaging to your teeth as flavoured fizzy drinks.
This is because your teeth are constantly being bathed in a weak acid solution containing carbon dioxide - thought to wear away our teeth. After repeated attacks over several years, this acid can erode the enamel - the hard part of our teeth made from calcium salts.
But you don`t have to give up drinking water yet! Dentists recommend drinking still water as a healthier option for your teeth. And if you can`t resist fizzy water, dentists recommend drinking a glass of water in several gulps, rather than sipping it throughout the day.

This is because `sipping` over a long period of time exposes your enamel to a constant bombardment of acid attack. Drinking water in one go means that your teeth are exposed to acid for several seconds rather than several hours throughout the day.
Drinking from a straw also helps minimize acid attacks because fluid is being drawn to the back of your throat, rather than hitting the front of your teeth directly.

`It only takes a week for an extracted tooth in a glass of Coke to become a jelly-like mass,` points out Dr Carpenter of the British Dental Health Foundation. `It wouldn`t take much longer for the same result to happen to a tooth bathed in fizzy water.`

The common belief that apples are both good for our body and teeth is now under scrutiny as dentists now say apples contain quite high levels of fruit sugars which can cause damage to our teeth.
So while your GP will agree with the old adage an apple a day keeps the doctor away, your dentist is likely to have a different view.
Thanks to modern production techniques and a general preference for sweet-tasting foods, today`s apples have such a high sugar content that could be harmful to our teeth.
It is thought that some `eating` apples contain as much as four teaspoons of sugar. Research by the American Department of Agriculture shows that the typical modern apple has a sugar content of up to 15 per cent, a rise of almost 50 per cent in just a decade.
Combined with the naturally high acidity of the fruit, there is a risk that eating too many apples could result in dental erosion, when the protective layering on the teeth is worn away over time. If you carry on eating high-acid apples, claim dentists, you might risk fractures to your tooth enamel or, in extreme cases, a tooth that has become so badly eroded can expose the pulp in its centre.


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