Dental decay, erosion and gum disease are serious and costly health burdens – but also preventable. We touched on this issue in one of our previous blogs; explaining that the cause of these problems may not simply be that you don’t floss your teeth religiously or that you have an occasional chocolate bar.
After some research into teeth erosion and decay, it is evident that even some food and drinks, which are considered “healthy” can be more harmful than some sugary snacks and desserts.
As we know sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay but did you know acidity can be just as harmful by gradually eroding away the tooth’s hard, protective enamel. Removing the tooths natural contour, or prematurely exposing the dentine which causes uncomfortable sensitivity or leaving the tooth more susceptible to decay.
A study compared the sugar content and acidity levels of 86 processed food and drinks that are readily available at supermarkets and used as popular lunchbox snacks for children at school.
The study shows soft drinks are the worst beverage as they have a high sugar content, 600ml = 13 teaspoons of sugar, as well as acidity levels. Some also contain caffeine, which can dry out the mouth.
It also shows that Cottee’s Lemon Crush Fruit Juice Cordial has the same level of acid as sugar free carbonated soft drinks such as Pepsi Max. What’s surprising is that Glaceau Vitamin Water has a higher pH score than even energy drinks or V Energy Sugar Free.
With breakfast drinks scoring the lowest, it is recommended that high sugar and acid drinks should be limited to mealtimes and water is the best option for everything in between.
It is alarming that lunchbox favourites are the worst among acidity scores in food with Uncle Tobys Fruit Strap Roll-Ups, IXL Strawberry Jam spread and SPC Fruit Sorbet lunchbox snack ranking in the top 4. With MuesliBars and Flavoured Yoghurt somewhere in the middle, Breakfast Cereal and Bars are the best choice with a very little pH score.
Role of your SALIVA
- Saliva acts as a buffer against erosion and dietary carbohydrates and is the body’s most important protection against decay as it has neutralizing powers and is anti-microbial. Salvia lubricates the mouth, controls the oral environment and washes away food debris that if trapped will allow plaque to soften or even dissolve enamel and cause caries.
- As salvia is stimulated by eating and chewing, if you replace having those foods for snacks and limit starchy or sugary food and drinks to meal times this will not only stop constant sugar attacks but increase salvia production while at the same time help neutralize the acidity levels.
- Sugar free chewing gum in between meal times is also recommended as it increases calcium and bicarbonate levels in the salvia helping to keep teeth healthy.
If you have any more questions or would like to bring in your family for a check up or dietary advice, Healthy Smiles Dental Group will be happy to care for you.
Please feel free to call our office today on 03 9877 2035 or contact us through our website at your convenience.
More information can be found on the Australian Dental Association website on www.ada.org.au