Could your ‘healthy lifestyle’ be damaging your teeth?

We know you like to keep healthy. But could you be causing damage to your teeth in the process?

No way. I take my health seriously and I’m very careful with my teeth. I brush them at least three times a day and after every meal.

That’s good, but be careful you’re not overdoing it. Brushing is important to keep your mouth healthy. However, you could cause damage to the teeth and gums by brushing too hard.

Don’t worry, I use an extra soft toothbrush and a herbal toothpaste.

Actually, you might be doing more damage than you think. A common mistake is to use too much force when brushing, and this is surprisingly easy to do with a soft brush. We see lots of people with receding gums due to simple brushing mistakes.

Remember that the bacteria in your mouth like to hide beneath the gums and between the teeth. Removing bacteria requires a medium texture brush with enough stiffness to reach those difficult places using gentle pressure. Brushing twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste should be enough to keep your mouth healthy.

Wait, fluoride? I thought that was bad for you? I’ve been using a fluoride-free natural toothpaste.

Fluoride in toothpaste is perfectly safe and very important to protect against tooth decay and cavities. It’s also helpful for people with sensitive teeth.

That’s me! My teeth are always so sensitive!

Let’s see if we can find out why. What do you like to drink?

I always start the day with a hot lemon water detox to flush out all the toxins from my system. I make all my own juices and smoothies. I also make sure I have my daily shot of apple cider vinegar to keep healthy.

Unfortunately, all of these contain very high levels of acid that can damage your teeth. Over time, this leads to erosion and sensitivity. It’s much safer to drink plain water and eat whole fruits and vegetables (instead of juice) as part of a balanced diet. Try to stick to regular mealtimes and avoid snacking in between meals.

But what about my energy levels for my workout class later?

A healthy balanced diet with lots of vegetables and whole grains will stop you feeling hungry between meals (and should be sufficient to fuel your workout). This also allows time for any acid in your mouth to disappear and for your teeth to recover from any potential damage.

Be sure to stay hydrated before and during exercise by drinking plenty of water.

Not sports drinks? What about energy gels for my long bike rides?

Those gels are full of carbohydrate that you probably don’t need. Remember that carbohydrate is just another word for sugar. Unfortunately, the gel sticks to your teeth where it can easily cause damage to the enamel. The risk of decay is even higher if your mouth is dry during prolonged exercise.

Sports drinks are also often very high in harmful sugars. For most people, it’s much better to drink plain water during exercise. This will keep you hydrated and protect your teeth.

Visit your periodontist to learn more about how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

The Gum Gardener



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