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A high sugar diet, snacking and consuming acidic foods and drinks all increase the acid attack on the teeth.
Acidic foods include things like lemons, grapefruit, vinegar, carbonated drinks even cooked tomatoes. When fruit is eaten in its natural state i.e whole it is usually safer unless consumed in excessive amounts.
If some one wanted to make one of the most damaging drinks for teeth they might come up with coke. Normal coke is high in sugar, the carbonation makes in acidic and they also add phosphoric acid which apart from attacking the teeth phosphoric acid has been shown to weaken bones.
We have seen damage caused by people drinking litres of grapefruit and immediately brushing vigorously. Some people like to drink hot water with lemon or cider vinegar this needs to be consumed with caution once a day is OK and do not brush immediately after consuming.
EFFECTIVE TOOTH CLEANING
We need to clean the sticky bacterial layer (plaque) that builds up on our teeth in a safe and effective way to keep ourselves and our mouths healthy. The type of bacteria found in plaque does vary from one person to another and is influenced by diet and genetics.
Over 800 types of bacteria have been identified in the mouth, we do not need to know all the latin names we just need to remove this layer from our teeth. There is now talk about gut bacteria and how important it is for our health, the gut starts in the mouth so by looking after what happens in the mouth it has a positive effect on our general health.
Disclosing tablets (TePe) are a good way to see if you are effectively removing plaque. The bacteria in the mouth are well camouflaged the tablets stain the plaque and make it easy to see. It does not really matter what you use to remove this layer as long as it is effective and does no harm. I used to include a chewed up stick as an option and recently discovered that such a thing has existed for at least 7,000 years called a Miswak. This is made from a stick from the Salvadora Tree and has antibacterial properties and contains fluoride, it features prominently in the Islamic tradition. If you enjoy information about everyday objects there is an interesting programme on Radio 4 iplayer called Toothbrush: The Origin of Stuff.
Using disclosing tablets increases your confidence that you are effectively removing all the plaque. We do not mind what you use to brush with as long as you are removing all the plaque and not traumatising the teeth and gums. The plaque is a soft layer and does not require excessive force just care and time to thoroughly remove it. It is a good idea to look at you teeth to see if they are clean and that there is no sticky layer left on the surface. This is best done near a window with a hand mirror (magnifying ones can be useful).
Using Disclosing tablets-
1) Crunch a tablet and spread it around your mouth then rinse out thoroughly with a glass of water until the water comes out clear. Do not get any on clothes or towels as it is a food colouring and will stain.
2) Look at your teeth, the TePe tablets have two colours anything pink is only 24 hour old plaque and anything staining blue is more than 48 hours old and more harmful.
3) Brush your teeth until all the stain is removed taking care to access the spaces between the teeth
If you tend to brush too aggressively disclose before you brush so you can work out how little force you need to remove the sticky layer. Disclosing after brushing can be used to compare the effectiveness of different tooth brushes and to check on your technique.
Some of my most dedicated patients achieve a high standard by using a combination of electric and manual.
Disclosing tablets can help you find out which tooth brush works best for you.