Dr Ken Harris, who runs Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry in Sunderland and Newcastle, is warning people who are preparing to jet off on holiday to take time and remember to take care of their teeth.
Hot temperatures inevitably lead to people drinking more soft drinks and fruit juices, along with more alcohol, all of which are very acidic and can cause tooth enamel to soften.
At the same time, anyone getting water in their mouth after a dip in a chlorinated pool can also be in danger of causing damage, with excess chlorine raising the acidity of the pool water, softening tooth enamel and causing teeth sensitivity.
‘At this time of year many people are getting ready to go on holiday,’ said Dr Harris, who has almost 35 years’ experience working in general dental practice.
‘And it’s not surprising that the last thing on their minds is taking care of their teeth, but if you don’t, holidays can really cause a great deal of tooth damage.’
Dr Harris says that people taking energy drinks to combat late nights, drinking lots of fruit juice or leaping in and out of pools need to take a few sensible precautions.
‘Carbonated drinks, even sugar-free versions, contain significant acid in the fizz that soften the enamel on your teeth, and if you then brush softened teeth, they wear down really fast,’ he said.
Dr Harris has the following tips for holiday makers:
- Don’t brush your teeth straight after having carbonated drinks or fruit juice. This could actually damage teeth because tooth enamel can be softened by the acid
- Wait four hours after having fizzy drinks before brushing your teeth – giving the enamel time to harden up again
- Don’t brush your teeth as soon as you’ve got out of a chlorinated pool – give your tooth enamel time to harden first
- The smell of a swimming pool is a good indication of how much chlorine is in it. The stronger the smell, the higher the chlorine level, the more chance the water in it can damage your teeth
- Drink plenty of water, especially if you exercise a lot
- If you vomit, do not brush your teeth immediately, but rinse your mouth with water.
‘With a bit of care and thought everyone can enjoy their holidays with no lasting problems for their teeth.’