If you’re keen to maintain a healthy smile, you’re probably well-versed in some of the most common foods that can contribute to tooth decay, including fruit juices and candies. But did you know that there are a host of hidden ingredients in food and drink that can accelerate tooth decay?

Whilst seemingly innocent, these hidden ingredients can be harmful to teeth – so whilst you may not be able to avoid them completely, you will want to be aware of them to ensure you can limit your exposure and maintain a healthy smile.

Citric acid

Citric acid is an additive found in many carbonated soft drinks. It’s commonly found in fizzy drinks – especially diet drinks, which can be deceptively ‘tooth friendly’ (and even marketed as such) as they’re sugar free. Citric acid (and phosphoric acid) erode tooth enamel slowly over time, exposing your teeth to sensitivity and decay.

Look for natural alternatives to diet drinks which don’t feature acidic ingredients, such as those containing fruit flavour extracts. When you do consume drinks containing acidic additives, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water afterwards to help wash away residue from your teeth.

Starch

Starchy foods are rarely demonised as much as sugary foods are when it comes to dental health – but they can be just as damaging. This is because starch breaks down into sugar, which feeds the bacteria in plaque. Usually this is happening in between the teeth, making it hard to see what is happening until it’s a bigger issue. White bread, potato chips and fries are just a few starchy foods to enjoy in moderation to protect your smile. Floss to remove trapped morsels of food in between teeth and rinse thoroughly with a glass of water.

Ice

Ice is only water, after all – but crunching and chewing on ice can be terrible news for our teeth. Over time it can cause initially invisible damage to our enamel, which then makes us more susceptible to chipped, cracked and broken teeth. Chewing ice can also loosen crowns and affect other historic dental work. If you find yourself crunching on ice without thinking, order drinks without to avoid temptation.

Dehydration

It’s not strictly an ingredient – but it’s important to note that a dry mouth is a haven for bacteria build-up. Saliva prevents food from sticking to our teeth and washes away food particles. It can even repair early onset tooth decay, gum disease and oral infections. To keep your mouth hydrated, remember to keep your body hydrated – drink the recommended two litres of water per day at regular intervals. Avoid ‘drying’ foods and drinks like alcohol. If you suffer with dry mouth, speak to us for expert advice and support.