Protecting your teeth if you’re a snacker or grazer
If you’re someone who snacks between meals or prefers to eat little and often throughout the day rather than sticking to three main meals, then you may be at greater risk of gum disease and tooth decay. This is because, each time you eat or drink, it changes the pH balance in your mouth, leaving the enamel of your teeth vulnerable to softening and erosion because of the sustained attack from plaque acids.
There are several important steps that you can take to protect your dental hygiene and safeguard your teeth from erosion.
Cut down on sugary snacks and drinks
If you do feel that grazing throughout the day suits you better than three larger meals, we would recommend that you cut down on sugary snacks and drinks, which have been closely linked in many studies to tooth decay. Drink water or milk instead of fizzy drinks, smoothies or sports drinks, and try snacking on raw vegetables or a handful of nuts instead of fruit or processed snacks; these will be better for your energy levels, as well as your teeth.
If you are going to eat or drink anything with a high sugar content, including fruit, we would recommend that you do so with one of your larger meals of the day as this will keep the acid attack to one occasion rather than at several points over the day.
Chew sugar-free gum
Studies have found that, if you chew sugar-free chewing gum, it will increase the flow of saliva in your mouth, thereby neutralising the plaque acids at a quicker rate than if you don’t chew gum. So, if you are a grazer, you might want to try keeping a pack of sugar-free gum on you for after each small meal.
Do be careful that your chewing-gum is sugar free as gum that contains sugar will not only increase your saliva flow but also introduce more decay-causing acids into your mouth.
Brush and floss at least twice a day
For tip-top dental hygiene, you should brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, preferably before eating as this can help prevent the build-up of plaque. If you must brush after a meal, you should wait at least 30 minutes because the plaque acids can soften the enamel of your teeth and make them more susceptible to toothpaste abrasion.
Visit the dental hygienist regularly
We take dental hygiene very seriously here at our Bolton practice, and encourage you to visit the dental hygienist (two to four appointments per year is typical). Our dental hygienist, supporting the work of your dentist at your dental check-ups, will be able to spot signs of dental erosion and help clean away areas of plaque and tartar that could lead to gum disease, tooth decay or even tooth loss.
Our friendly and highly experienced dental hygienist will talk to you about ways you can improve your dental hygiene, from reviewing your diet to giving you hints and tips for better brushing.
If you’re someone who likes to graze throughout the day and you’d like to discuss the best ways to protect your dental hygiene, you can book an appointment to see our dental hygienist by calling 01204 304568