Food and Drink

How Food and Drink affects your Teeth:

Why the problem?

One of the commonest questions we are asked is what is the cause of a particular dental problem. Often it is either caused by or made worse by what you eat or drink.

Dental Decay

There are three things needed for dental decay to occur:

1. A tooth
2. Plaque
3. Sugar

Theoretically if brushing is perfect then you could eat a lot of sugar and get away with it. However, this cannot be the case all day every day, there will always be times when plaque occurs. Therefore, sugar needs to be concentrated around meal times.

What to avoid / moderate between meals?
• Sugar in drinks, hot or cold. Use sweetener or no added sugar varieties.
• Sugar added to cereal etc
• Sweets
• Chocolate
• Cakes
• Biscuits
• Smoothies, whilst healthy, can contain a lot of sugar
• Sports drinks

Ideally these should also be moderated at all times.

What is Erosion?

Dental erosion is the loss of enamel and dentine, caused by acid attacking the surfaces of your teeth. In tooth decay the acids are from bacteria, however, these usually come from acidic drinks such as fruit juices, fizzy drinks and squashes – even the 'diet' varieties.

Tooth erosion is very common and has been on the increase during the past 20 years. Dental erosion is reportedly present in 34.1% of children and 31.8% of adults, and this trend is increasing significantly. It is now estimated that over half of all children aged 15 to 18 in the UK have some dental erosion.

Which foods and drinks are the worst?

The most erosive food and drinks are:

- Carbonated (fizzy) drinks consumed over a long period of time, i.e sipped aver a few hours rather than drunk all at once.
- Wine, beer, cider (especially white cider).
- Alcopops.
- Lemon in hot water.
- Lemon tea.
- Fruit teas.
- Sports drinks.
- Acidic fresh fruit.
- Pickles.
- Yoghurt.