The oral health headlines over recent weeks have been dominated by news that red wine is good for your teeth and fruit teas bad. But, is it just as simple as that?
As much as we would love to believe that a glass of wine a day really does keep the doctor away or that there’s no such thing as too much fruit tea, unfortunately this is not the case.
Acidic drinks such as alcohol and sweet refreshments can be damaging to our health and in particular, our oral health, so we need to be careful about how much we are consuming.
A study conducted by the Institute of Food Science Research in Madrid found that red wine contains chemicals known as polyphenols, which are responsible for stopping bacteria sticking to your gum tissue. So, this is good news, right?
Well, despite the endless articles focusing on this one aspect of red wine and claiming it is good for you, there are lots of other elements to consider, such as
the fact that more and more evidence is being collected to prove that reducing your alcohol intake can lessen the danger of diseases and mortality risks.
Fruit Flavoured Drinks
King’s College London(1) investigated tooth erosion and found that it was more likely when people were consuming acidic food and drinks, especially between meals. Beverages such as soft drinks, water with lemon slices and hot fruit flavoured teas were all included and were proven to make tooth erosion eleven times more likely!
They also found that hot drinks are more likely to cause tooth erosion and that sugar-free soft drinks are just as erosive as sugar-sweetened drinks. Swishing and holding drinks in your mouth before swallowing can also increase the risk of tooth erosion.
What Can I Do to Prevent Tooth Erosion?
There are many ways to reduce the risk:
- Cut down on acidic food and beverages
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Wash acidic food and drinks down with water after consuming
- Use a straw so acidic drinks bypass your teeth
- Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after consuming acidic food or drinks, as they make your teeth more sensitive to brushing
- Finish meals with a piece of cheese or glass of milk to cancel out the acids And most of all, book regular appointments with your dentist.
1 - www.nature.com/articles/sj.bdj.2018.127