For many many people, the New Year signals the start of a health kick and lifestyle changes to improve our well-being.
But one top dentist is now warning against adopting trendy fads that have become popular morning routines among women because of the long-term damage they will do to your teeth.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham are all reported to be fans of a morning cup of hot water and lemon.
But Dr Christopher Orr, 47, who heads up the team Advanced Dental Practice in London, claims the ritual is now the number one cause of tooth enamel erosion for middle-aged women.
‘We are now seeing patients in their 50s and 60s coming to us for treatment for damage caused by citric acid,’ he told FEMAIL.
‘The irony is that hot water and lemon has replaced the morning cup of tea and coffee because of this perception that it’s healthier and leaves you feeling cleansed and refreshed, however, tea and coffee are pretty close to neutral in terms of acidity and are less damaging from a tooth point of view.’
Other popular eating and drinking habits perceived to be healthy include snacking on fruit or starting the day with a drink of cider vinegar.
Dr Orr said these are also among the most damaging fads for teeth to have emerged, and estimates there has been a 50 per cent increase in this type of damage seen in patients in the last couple of years.
Here he shares other common bad habits that are ruining our smiles.
Vaping has been presented as a safer version of smoking, but based on what we have seen to date, this does not seem to be the case.
There is still a lot we don’t know about vaping and research is on-going. It can still stain your teeth, and some products have been associated with dental decay due to the sugar content and gum health issues due to the presence of nicotine.
Dry mouth is also a symptom of vaping and that can lead to bad breath, mouth sores and also tooth decay.
Drinking wine in the evenings
It might only be one glass, but your nightly glass of wine can play havoc with your teeth.
It might only be one glass, but your nightly glass of wine can play havoc with your teeth. Pictured: stock image
The acidic drink makes your mouth dry, increases its level of acidity and stains your teeth.
Wine also contains sugar, and sugar feeds off the bacteria in our mouths which could fuel the process of tooth decay. It is not advisable to drink more than two evenings per week.
Ditching plastic straws
While it’s a good thing for the environment, it is important to note that any kind of straw is good for protecting your front teeth from coming into direct contact with sugary, acidic drinks like natural fruit juices and carbonated drinks.
This helps to reduce staining and mild to severe erosion depending on the frequency of consumption.
While it’s a good thing for the environment, it is important to note that any kind of straw is good for protecting your front teeth from coming into direct contact with sugary, acidic drinks. Pictured: a 44-year-old man with damage caused by drinking fruit juice
If ditching plastic straws means that you go back to sipping fizzy drinks without one, that may create a dental problem due to acid erosion of your teeth from the acidic liquid.
If you want to drink a fizzy drink or other acidic drink, it is best to use a straw so that the acidic drink does not contact your teeth. You can buy re-usable metal ones online.
Using your teeth for something nature did not design them for is always bad news. Teeth can break and chip if you try to chew on pens, open packages, bite your fingernails or crunch on ice.
If you regularly chew on a pen top, stop. You risk wearing down your teeth and will even grind down your teeth over a long period of time.
Any sharp ends could cause cuts, thereby increasing the risk of infections. You also don’t know who else potentially may have chewed the pen either!
Holding keys between your teeth can be very dangerous too as if they slip, you can end up biting very hard on them and breaking a tooth!
With fruit, it’s not how many pieces of fruit, it’s about how often you’re eating it throughout the day.
Every time you eat something, especially something sugary, bacteria in your mouth make acid, which can lead to decay.
Your saliva will naturally neutralise the acid over a period of 20 to 30 minutes, but the clock starts again every time you eat something, so if you are snacking continuously, your teeth are subject to acid attack from the bacteria all day.
Every time you eat something, especially something sugary, bacteria in your mouth make acid, which can lead to decay. Pictured: stock image
Try to avoid snacking between meals because your teeth need time to recover from the damage caused from the food you’re eating. If you’ve eaten something acidic, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to allow enough saliva to form to protect the enamel of your teeth.
Smoking is bad for your mouth in many ways. It stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and is bad for your gums.
If you are naturally susceptible to gum problems, it will make the problem worse. It slows down the healing of any wounds in your mouth and also significantly increases your risk of oral cancer.
Sports drinks, protein bars and shakes
People consuming these as part of their exercise routines have higher levels of tooth decay caused by the high sugar content of these products.
People consuming these as part of their exercise routines have higher levels of tooth decay caused by the high sugar content of these products, according to Dr Orr
Research has shown that there is a correlation between heavy training and dental problems.
Before you tuck in, check the sugar content of your sport drink or snack – your teeth will thank you for it.
Clenching and grinding your teeth at night
Night-time grinding (bruxism) can be very damaging as your conscious control of how heavily you are grinding is not present when you are sleeping.
If your partner notices a lot of noisy grinding, speak to your dentist about possible solutions.
Night-time clenching can lead to severe headaches on waking. If this happens to you regularly, speak to your doctor or your dentist.
Brushing too hard
While it’s good to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, scrubbing away too hard can damage your teeth and gums. Dr Orr recommends using an electric toothbrush. Pictured: stock image
While it’s good to brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, scrubbing away too hard can damage your teeth and gums.
This can cause issues such as enamel wear and receding gums, which can, in turn, lead to tooth sensitivity.
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