Are your new year’s resolutions doing more harm than good?

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With 2020 underway, it is an excellent time to reflect on how those new years resolutions are progressing. For many people the beginning of a new year often means the start of a ‘New Year New Me” mindset, which often includes a change in diet, starting or increasing an exercise regime, or the addition of ‘healthy practices’ into our lives. While these are all fantastic endeavours, the focus most often rests on the health benefits or physical changes, perhaps without consideration of this may impact your teeth. Below are some helpful hints to ensure that your mouth stays healthy this year, as well as your body.

1. Exercise and sports drinks: When you are challenging yourself to increase physical activity, it is easy to reach for sports or energy drinks to get you through. It is beneficial to consider how the combination of having a dry mouth from exercising and the excessive amounts of sugar in these drinks, can dramatically increase the risk of developing dental decay. Unless you are running a marathon, sipping water throughout your exercise session is not only the best way to rehydrate, but also protects your teeth during a workout. If you do choose to consume sports or energy drinks, you can wash away some of the sugar by rinsing your mouth with water after each sip. Products such as sugar-free gum and the application of Tooth Mousse can also be helpful after a workout.

2. Lemon juice in the morning: It has become more common recently to include lemon juice in the morning to kick-start your metabolism without considering how our teeth can suffer from this practice. Firstly, lemon juice has approximately a pH of 2; anything below a pH of 5.5 starts to ‘demineralise’ the enamel on our teeth. Secondly, our bodies don’t produce as much saliva during the night, so we often have a dry mouth in the morning, leaving our teeth less protected against sugars and acids. If you are going to have lemon juice in the morning, it is essential to restore the higher pH in your mouth back to neutral. Raising the pH level can be achieved by rinsing with bicarb soda, chewing sugar-free gum or applying Tooth Mousse. It is also important not to brush straight away, as that can wear our teeth away quicker after an acid attack.

3. Diet: Changes in our diet can alter our risk of developing dental decay. An increase in snacking throughout the day can increase our risk if the foods we are consuming contain sugar. From a dental perspective, it is preferable only to have one period of snacking between main meals, and the food eaten should be healthy, with as little sugar as possible. Foods like cheeses, nuts and fruits are ideal because they are beneficial to both the body and our teeth. A convenient way to combat the effects of sugary or acidic foods (such as citrus fruits) is to chew sugar-free gum which clears sugar from our teeth and restores pH levels. The application of Tooth Mousse is also beneficial, as is, of course, brushing after meals.

As the year races on, we hope your New Year’s Resolutions are still in full swing. If you have any questions about your daily habits and the impact on your teeth, the staff at Medland Dental are always happy to answer your questions.