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Do Your Teeth Love The Summer Holidays PDF Print Email

Do Your Teeth Love The Summer Holidays?
As a nation, we might rejoice when the summer season comes around, yet millions of holiday-makers could be putting their oral health at greater risk with their summer diet.

The British Dental Health Foundation, has issued a reminder to people that consuming too many acidic foods, as well as eating more sugary foods and drinks, traditionally associated with summer-time and holidays, can potentially increase the risk of dental erosion and tooth decay. Risks of dental erosion and tooth decay are also increased during the holiday season as eating-habits and patterns often change. It is more likely that normal meal-times are disrupted during the holidays and snacking and grazing increases, which can cause multiple-attacks on teeth throughout the day.

Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attacks from typical holiday foods and drinks like vinaigrettes, olives, red wine and ciders. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, and if it is worn away, the dentine underneath becomes exposed and teeth can look discoloured and become sensitive.
Tooth decay happens when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque. Sugars from foods like ice-cream, seaside rock and fizzy drinks stimulate the formation of acids that attack the teeth and destroy the enamel. Tooth decay causes cavities and results in the need for fillings. Whilst sugary foods and drinks are easy to identify, acidic foods and drinks that can increase the risk of dental erosion are not always so easy to recognise.


To help holiday-makers, the Foundation has compiled a list of some of the most popular foods consumed during the summer and their pH Level.


Highly Acidic - Bad

Moderately Acidic - OK

Less Acidic - Better

Vinaigrette Salad Dressing: 2.0
Wine: 2.5
Cola: 2.5
Squash/Cordial: 2.8 - 3.8
Cider: 2.9 - 3.3
Pasta: 3.0
Ice Lollies: 3.0 - 4.0
Strawberries: 3.0 - 4.2
Ice Cream: 3.0 - 5.0
Olives: 3.8

Fresh Orange Juice: 3.8
Cottage Cheese: 4.1 - 5.4
Fruit Tea: 4.2
Lager: 4.4
Fish and Chips: 4.6 - 6

White Bread: 5.0 - 6.0
Feta Cheese: 5.0 - 6.1
Brown Rice: 6.0
Gin and Tonic: 6.9
Sparkling Water: 7.4
Still Water: 7.6
Hot Dogs: 6.2

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: "The habit of snacking and grazing in between meals is one that continues to creep into society. What people do not realise is every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour.
"Eating and drinking naturally weakens the enamel on your teeth, and as a result, the Foundation recommends eating three square meals a day instead of having seven to ten 'snack attacks'.

If you do snack between meals, choose foods and drinks that do not contain sugar, limiting the amount of time your mouth is at risk.
"Snacking throughout the day might be easy and convenient when on holiday, particularly if you have young children, but the frequency of doing so can be harmful to their teeth and have lasting implications.

"It is vitally important that you stick to the Foundation's three key rules for good oral health - brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, reducing the frequency of how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend."
Remember your local pharmacist stocks a range of products to help with good oral hygiene and is always ready with plenty of helpful advice