How to prevent a healthy diet from harming your teeth

Although sugar is the most well known contributor to tooth decay, it’s not the only one. Acid also harms our teeth, and is found not only in fizzy drinks and wine, but also healthy foods and drinks such as fruits, vegetables and juices.

Although natural juices are good for you as a result of being high in nutrients, the acid in them can cause tooth discolouration and cavities. However, there are ways to limit the damage caused by the acids contained in healthy foods.

Be aware of enamel erosion

Enamel erosion may not be obvious, but the slow process is one that can cause tooth decay and poor oral and dental health. Dr. David Tharme Jones of The London Smile Clinic says that many patients often feel that they are taking good care of their teeth, but are actually unaware of the ‘invisible process causing the softening of the enamel’, which can eventually lead to irreversible long term enamel loss.

Enamel erosion is a result of acid in foods and drinks. Dr. Jones states that ‘every time you eat and drink something acidic, the enamel softens and the surface demineralises’. Although using toothpaste helps to shift surface stains, it could also further enamel erosion by wearing away the enamel softened by acid.

You can also prevent enamel erosion by using an electric toothbrush, as this puts less pressure on your teeth and so doesn’t wear away as much enamel whilst also providing a more effective clean. As well as this, waiting half an hour before brushing your teeth after a meal also prevents enamel erosion.

Stopping surface stains

Although the high sugar content in fruit juices can result to tooth decay, the chlorophyll (a green photosynthetic pigment) which is contained in drinks such as green tea and vegetable juices can cause your teeth to become discoloured and stained. However, this can be prevented by using a straw when you drink. This prevents the liquid from coming into contact with your teeth, and so helps to prevent discolouration.

As well as this, you can prevent surface stains on your teeth by drinking water after your juice or green tea in order to dilute any stains that are beginning to form.

Another way to avoid tooth discolouration is to floss more. As well as being good for your oral health, flossing prevents and reduces stains between your teeth, as flossing cleans 40% more of your tooth surface than if you only brushed them, making your teeth and smile beautiful.