It is particularly true in children but also with adults, if you are having problems with tooth decay it is probably your diet that is at fault. To take this further it is not only what you eat and drink but the way you consume it. We are all aware that sugar, cakes and sweets are bad for our teeth but there are many other less obvious foods which can cause decay.
Tooth decay occurs when we eat and drink incorrect foods but the risk of decay increases if we eat them frequently. This means opening a packet of sweets and eating one every few minutes throughout the day will cause more decay than if we eat the whole packet all at once. Just half a tea spoon of sugar in hot drinks throughout the day still creates an increased risk of decay. We recommend that food or drink which is likely to cause tooth decay is eaten straight after main meals. This cuts down the amount of times food is eaten which will result in less decay. There are no safe snacks in between meals, milk or still water are the only safe drinks.
Diet soft drinks are extremely acidic so even though they contain no sugar they are just as harmful as the regular type of drink. Even natural fruit juice and cordials are extremely harmful!
I often look at what people have in their shopping trolleys at supermarkets for the weekly shopping and I am stunned by the quantity of soft drinks, biscuits and sweets most families consume. The British Dental Health Foundation estimated that a tax of just 2% on this sort of product would fully fund private dental health care for the entire population of the UK. How much do you spend on this sort of product?
You will be surprised how much sugar there is in seemingly 'savoury' foods compared to obviously sweet foods - below are a few examples.
1 packet of oxtail soup - 6 teaspoons of sugar
1 tin tomato soup - 2 teaspoons of sugar
1 tin of baked beans - 4 teaspoons of sugar
1 tin sweetcorn - 3 teaspoons of sugar
1 bowl of muesli - 3 teaspoos of sugar
1 glass of Lucozade - 7 teaspoons of sugar
This is exactly the same as refined sugar and will cause decay in your teeth. Natural sugar occurs in all fruit.
The other problem with many foods is that they are naturally acidic. This means they cause damage to your teeth even more quickly than sugary foods. You can measure the acidity of a product by the PH value, the lower the PH the higher the acidity. Here are some examples. Anything less than PH 5.4 causes damage to your teeth. Having acidic drinks at mealtimes makes them less harmful and continuous sipping is more harmful than consuming the whole drink at once. Drinking through a straw can also reduce the contact between the acidic drink and your teeth. It is also good practice to rinse your mouth with water when you have finished drinking soda.
Lemonade, orangeade, cola etc. (sugar and sugar free) PH 2.7 - 3.2
Sugar free whole orange drink - PH 3.1 - 3.7
for example rosehip, apple and hibiscus PH 3.0 - 3.2
Still PH 7.6, sparkling PH 5.4
Lager/bitter PH 4.0, red wine PH 2.5, cider PH 3.2