Summer's the time for savouring all of our favourite sweet treats, from ice lollies by the beach to cocktails on the patio. But all these indulgent delicacies don't tend to do our nashers much good. The good news, though, is that you don't have to give up on the summer sweeteners altogether.
Dr Sameer Patel, from London’s dental and orthodontic practice elleven, shares his expert tips on how to look out for your mouth over the summer period when enjoying your top tipples and treats.
Fruit based cocktails, such as margaritas, do tend to contain lots of sugar which can react with the oral bacteria in your mouth and cause damage to the sensitive enamel of your teeth.
To reduce the damage, try to drink a glass of water after each cocktail to help rinse the sugars away and neutralise your mouths PH levels. If your cocktail glass is adorned with sweet decorative fruits, try to avoid sucking them, as this encourages the fruits natural sugars to attack your teeth’s outer layer of enamel.
Did you know that Frappuccino can contain up to 102 grams of sugar, the equivalent of drinking an entire litre of fizzy drink in one sitting? The high sugar content can corrode the outer surface of your teeth, possibly contributing to tooth decay and painful sensitivity. The extra coffee shot in these types of drinks could also stain your teeth.
If you do enjoy this treat every no and then, try to avoid brushing your teeth straight afterwards. The acid content temporarily softens your tooth enamel, which can be worn away if you brush. It's much better to rinse your mouth with water to help dilute the sugars.
Try chewing sugar free gum after drinking a Frappuccino to produce excess saliva and make a barrier to help prevent tooth decay. Most coffee shops also offer lighter versions of their signature drinks which cut their sugar content down by approximately a third, so why not opt for one of these or even make your own, so you know exactly how much sugar is going into your drink.
We all love a 99 on a hot day and it's even lovelier with the knowledge that ice cream contains calcium, an essential mineral for strong, healthy teeth. However a lot of ice creams do add lots of extra sugar and sugary syrups which can harm your teeth's enamel, cause cavities or build up plaque.
Once you've had a cone, rinse your mouth out with a wash that's infused with fluoride. And try to avoid those extra sugar filled sauces and syrups when buying your treat.
Frozen yogurt is the go-to summer treat if you're wanting to keep your diet in check whilst still keeping your sweet tooth satisfied. However while many people read the word yoghurt and assume this summer snack is a healthy daytime treat, the truth is, most frozen yogurts contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives which can harm your oral health. In fact, the average amount of sugar in frozen yogurt is around 22g per serving.
Instead, enjoy frozen yogurt as an occasional treat, rather than a regular summer staple, and stick to the fruit based toppings instead of the artificial sweets and marshmallows that are on offer to reduce how much sugar you eat.
Before you reach for your ice cold fruity cider on a warm summer’s day in the pub garden, it's important to remember that a single glass of fruit cider can contain up to five teaspoons of sugar, a much higher figure than its alcoholic counterparts wine and beer.
To best reduce the chance of damage, use a straw when drinking a serving of fruit cider to stop the sugary liquid hitting the front of your teeth. Also try not to sip your drink over a prolonged period of time, as each time we put the liquid into our mouths, we expose our teeth to a twenty minute acid attack before our saliva can neutralise it.
- There's more health advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.