Don’t let your teeth wear away


VEN “HEALTHY” food and bev­er­ages, such as yo­ghurt, honey and fruit juice, as well as energy and diet fizzy drinks, nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments and some medicines, can dam­age teeth by wear­ing away their outer enamel.

At a re­cent meet­ing of Europewide den­tal ex­perts, “ero­sive tooth wear” was de­clared a den­tal health prob­lem that must be ad­dressed with­out de­lay. Tooth wear may re­sult in short, unattrac­tive, rough or sen­si­tive teeth. If wear is Pro­fes­sorAn­drew Eder:‘lim­itacidic­food’ ig­nored, teeth may later re­quire ex­ten­sive restora­tion. But there are sim­ple steps you can take which, while they won’t re­verse dam­age, can pre­vent wors­en­ing.

Limit fruits, fruit juices, sparkling drinks, al­co­hol and other acids.

Drink still wa­ter or low-fat milk be­tween meals; re­strict acidic foods and drinks to meal times.

Use a wide­bore straw for acidic drinks; don’t hold or swish them aroundthe mouth. A f t e r acidic foods or drinks, wait an hour be­fore brush­ing teeth.

Choose a tooth­brush that has a small head and is rel­a­tively soft.

Use a non-abra­sive tooth­paste that con­tains at least 1,400ppm flu­o­ride.

To neu­tralise acids in the mouth chew sugar-free gum or rinse with wa­ter or flu­o­ri­dated mouth­wash.

If you chew any tablets, ask your doc­tor if they would be equally ef­fec­tive if swal­lowed whole with wa­ter.

Ob­vi­ously, never stop or change pre­scribed medicine with­out your doc­tor’s ad­vice. Pro­fes­sor An­drew Eder is a con­sul­tant at the UCL East­man Den­tal In­sti­tute and a spe­cial­ist in restora­tive den­tistry and prosthodon­tics. He leads a team at the Lon­don Tooth Wear Cen­tre. See tooth­ (020 7486 7180) or ask your den­tist for a re­fer­ral

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