Balancing summer foods with good oral health

holiday tooth

As a nation familiar with cold, damp winters, we tend to celebrate when the summer season comes around, yet our oral health may well be at risk through our holiday-making and picnic munching. Could you be letting you mouth care drop through your summer diet?

Tooth decay and dental erosion are risky factor when consuming sugary foods and drinks such as ice creams and sports drinks as they spike the acidity levels in our mouths.

Eating habits are often changed in the summer. Meal times are often disrupted during the holidays as snacking and grazing takes place more. These extra opportunities for acid levels to rise increase the attacks on our teeth as well as reducing the time our mouth is able to neutralize theses acidic spikes.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE writing for the DENTAL Health Foundation says

‘Many holiday foods like vinaigrettes, olives, red wine and ciders are very acidic. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, and if it is worn away, the dentine underneath becomes exposed and teeth can look discoloured and become sensitive.

Tooth decay happens when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque. Sugars from foods like ice-cream, seaside rock and fizzy drinks stimulate the formation of acids that attack the teeth and destroy the enamel. Tooth decay causes cavities and results in the need for fillings.

Whilst sugary foods and drinks are easy to identify, acidic foods and drinks that can increase the risk of dental erosion are not always easy to recognise. To help you make the right decisions this summer, the Dental Health Foundation has compiled a list of some of the most popular foods consumed during the summer and their pH Level.’

Highly Acidic – Bad Moderately Acidic – OK Less Acidic – Better
Vinaigrette Salad Dressing: 2.0 Fresh Orange Juice: 3.8 White Bread: 5.0 – 6.0
Wine: 2.5 Cottage Cheese: 4.1 – 5.4 Feta Cheese: 5.0 – 6.1
Cola: 2.5 Fruit Tea: 4.2 Brown Rice: 6.0
Squash/Cordial: 2.8 – 3.8 Lager: 4.4 Gin and Tonic: 6.9
Cider: 2.9 – 3.3 Fish and Chips: 4.6 – 6.7 Sparkling Water: 7.4
Still Water: 7.6
Ice Lollies: 3.0 – 4.0 Hot Dogs: 6.2
Strawberries: 3.0 – 4.2
Ice Cream: 3.0 – 5.0
Olives: 3.8

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