A month into the new year, if you haven’t given up on your diet or are trying to make a change for the better, keep reading. Your diet has an impact on your overall health, including your mind, body and teeth.
How does my diet affect my teeth?
Sugar and acid in your diet can cause many problems for your teeth and gums. Bacteria and germs in the mouth live off of sugary foods and beverages. The more sugar in your diet, the more bacteria in your mouth. Acidic food can weaken your teeth and enamel. Once losing enamel from acid erosion, it doesn’t grow back. Some drinks can even stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and wine.
Sip All Day, Get Decay
Every time you take a sip of something sugary and/or acidic, your teeth become weaker. This is called an ‘acid attack” and causes acid erosion, which we mentioned above wears down enamel.
When you sip on acidic or sugary drinks all day, it can cause a lot more damage than you may expect. It takes 20 minutes after each sip for teeth to become strong again. So, if you slowly sip on acidic or sugary drinks all day, your teeth are slowly wearing down and becoming weaker throughout the day as well.
Some common sugary and acidic drinks people tend to sip on almost daily are pop (or soda, sorry we’re from Michigan!), juice, coffee and energy drinks.
What You Can Do
Try to avoid these types of drinks if you can. We know it’s no fun to go without your daily caffeine pick me up, so if you do continue drinking these types of sugary, acidic drinks, follow some of the good rules of thumb we list below.
- Avoid sipping all day. Like we mentioned earlier, it takes 20 minutes for your teeth to become strong again after sipping on acidic drinks. If you can drink more at one time, it will help you limit your acid exposure.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Water is just good for you in general. We could all use more, so drink up!
- Drink through a straw. This limits the amount of acid and sugar that comes in direct contact with your teeth. It will also help prevent staining of your teeth.
- Use sugar-free flavors. Flavor-enhancing drops can be a great way to add some flavor to water. Be sure to choose the sugar-free option, you may not even notice the difference!
Prevention is Key
We know you’ve heard it before, but continue taking care of your teeth! Brush at least twice a day and floss every day. Yes, every day. Don’t skip your dental and hygiene visits. Only your dentist and hygienist can find cavities before they start causing you pain. Regular check-ups at your dental home are SO IMPORTANT to catch problems before they cause infection or serious pain and complications.