With summer here and staying fit and active at the top of many people’s priority lists this time of year, there are many extra steps you can take to stay healthy and keep your stamina up. But what many people don’t realize is that some of these so-called healthy habits could be wreaking havoc on your teeth. If you’re working hard to keep your body in great shape, don’t forget to include your mouth! Check out this list of some of the sneakiest tooth decay culprits, and find out what you can do to stop them!
With protein and meal replacement shakes soaring in popularity these days, many dentists have noticed an increase in cavities among protein shake drinkers, too. Why? For starters, they’re often loaded with sugar, and even the ones that contain artificial sweeteners like Stevia aren’t much better in excess, because according to experts, they can easily dehydrate you. In addition to being bad for your internal organs, dehydration can cause dry mouth, which can put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Some shakes have also been found to cause an increased level of plaque buildup and may even cause bad breath and tooth staining.
If you’re looking for a less destructive way to get protein, a cheaper and healthier way to get it is by eating protein-rich foods like a half chicken breast, scrambled eggs, or by drinking milk. You’ll still need to brush your teeth, but you’ll save money and minimize the hidden side effects of those trendy powders.
Vitamins are a quick and effortless way to get the nutrients you need from a less than perfect diet. For those who have avoided vitamins in the past because they don’t like to swallow giant tablets, a new trend that has been making vitamins a little easier to swallow are gummy vitamins. These sweet, candy-like drops are both good and good for you, but while they may be helping your body, they could be harming your teeth in the process. This is because thanks to their sticky texture, gummy vitamins often get stuck in your teeth for hours, and since they’re usually full of sugar, they essentially create a feast for cavity-causing bacteria to snack on while they hang out on your teeth indefinitely.
If gummies are the only way you or your child will agree to take a vitamin, its recommended that you take them before you brush your teeth, so you can scrub away the bits of gummy vitamin left behind when you’re done.
Fruit Juice Cleanses
Fruit Juice cleanses, juicing, and smoothies are another health food trend that can cause some major damage to your teeth. Thanks to the high sugar and high citric acid content of most fruits, these juice based drinks can eat away at your tooth enamel, leaving them more sensitive, less durable, and vulnerable to tooth decay.
To combat this onslaught, don’t nurse your smoothie or juice- drink it within 30 minutes or so, and follow it with a glass of water. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after drinking your smoothie to brush your teeth, as the citric acid will temporarily soften your enamel. Brushing with softened enamel is tantamount to attacking your teeth at their weakest moment, so give your enamel a chance to reharden before brushing.
Another refreshing idea that is easier on the teeth is fruit-enhanced water, which can be easily made at home by freezing fresh fruit and adding it to your glass of water. You can use berries, kiwi, grapes, and citrus fruits for just a hint of fruit flavor. Best of all, you can eat the fruit when you’re done with the water!
If have any questions or concerns about whether the foods and drinks you consume could be causing cavities, give Dr. Lederman’s office a call at 516-882-1764.