Tooth decay: Dentist reveals how you can protect your teeth
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With the days getting shorter and the weather turning chillier, probably the last thing you want to hear is that your favourite autumn drink could actually be taxing on your teeth. Everyone needs a warm sugary pick-me-up every now and then but Sundeep Patel, spectrum pharmacy services henderson nv Cosmetic Dentist and Clinical Lead for Waldron Dental, warns that your go-to could be leading to tooth decay and bad breath.
The good news is that the expert also offered tips on how to avoid “damage” this autumn.
When it comes to the culprit, it’s no secret that sugar is not exactly friendly to your teeth. However, this sweet ingredient can also be hiding in your drinks.
Patel said: “Seasonal beverages such as flavoured coffees and mulled wine contain much more sugar than regular coffees and wines.
“Drinks like the pumpkin spice contain a lot of different sugars which can be harmful to your teeth, especially if you are not brushing your teeth for a while after.
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“You should always be mindful of your sugar intake as sugar can advance to oral issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.”
This tasty but very high sugar content is promoting tooth decay, which could prove “detrimental” if you enjoy multiple sweet drinks a day.
The expert continued: “Sipping on sugary beverages over a long period of time essentially exposes your teeth to sugar for longer.
“This slow release means that the harmful bacteria in the mouth has more time to turn the sugar into plaque, which will lead to tooth decay.”
While your hot beverage of choice might taste great, your breath after one might not be so amazing.
Caffeine can dehydrate your body which leads to less saliva being produced, the expert noted.
Patel added: “We need saliva to help digest food particles that become stuck between your teeth and linger in your mouth.
“So if the mouth is dry, this can mean that these food particles are not being washed away, causing dry mouth and leading to bad breath.”
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This could be made worse by the sugar in your drink as dry mouth is allowing the sweet ingredient to “eat away” at your teeth more easily.
Furthermore, the expert warned that the autumn favourites could also leave your teeth stained.
Patel said: “It’s no secret that dark coloured beverages can cause stainage to the teeth, and this is almost amplified during the autumn as these drinks are consumed more often due to their limited time and high demand.
“There are lots of microscopic holes, pits and ridges all over your teeth, and drinks that pass through your mouth will trap bacteria particles, storing them until they are removed by cleaning the teeth.
“This can cause staining as the bacteria particles sit within those holes and ridges leaving your teeth looking stained, dull and grey.”
This might be bad news for your wallet as teeth stains can only be reversed by professional cleaning and whitening.
While this all might sound gloomy, don’t go ditching your PSL and mulled wine just yet.
The expert also shared protective measures that could help:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled brush
- Use mouthwash regularly
- Floss twice a day
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially right after finishing a dark coloured
- Eat a vitamin rich diet
- Be mindful of your sugar intake and try and limit the amount of sweet drinks you have
- Visiting your dentist regularly for a check-up and your hygienist for a clean.
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