You probably have a pretty good idea of the types of food and drinks that can contribute to tooth decay. If a dentist should notice a few cavities while they're examining you, they will probably ask you about your consumption of these things. But everyone knows that lollies, fizzy drinks and sweets in general contain a large quantity of sugar and so can contribute to tooth decay, right? While these items might be the most obvious culprits, there are a few other things that can contribute to tooth decay. These things might well surprise you.
1. Dairy Products
Sure, some dairy products obviously have added sugar, whether it's ice cream, milkshakes, or some varieties of flavoured yogurt. But when you're consuming a basic kind of dairy product such as milk or plain yogurt, you probably think you're safe from any additives that can detrimentally affect your teeth. Dairy products contain lactose, which is a naturally occurring sugar comprised of two other sugar bases—glucose and galactose. Lactose in your mouth can be broken down by your oral bacteria to produce an acidic effect. Of course you don't have to give up dairy products, but it's important to remember what lactose can do. If you're in the habit of enjoying a glass of milk before bedtime, don't forget that you still need to clean your teeth afterwards.
2. Salad Dressings
This one can seem like a contradiction, because salads are supposed to be healthy, aren't they? Some types of salad dressing can be very bad for your teeth. If you are fond of shop-bought salad dressings, be sure to take a peek at the nutritional information on its packaging. Some types of dressing can have a shockingly high sugar content, with enough added sucrose to almost become comparable with confectionary. When this is coupled with an acidic component (the vinegar contained in the salad dressing), it can be bad news for your teeth. Of course, you can still enjoy as much salad as you like, and yet you might want to begin to make your own dressing so that you can control precisely how much sugar and vinegar goes into it.
3. Swimming Pools
It's not as though you plan to swallow swimming pool water when you take a dip. And yet, some of it is going to end up inside your mouth. Did you know that repeated exposure to an over-chlorinated pool can damage your dental enamel? If you should have your own backyard swimming pool, it's vital to regularly check its pH balance in order to ensure that the chlorine in the water is not more prominent than it should be. While you will want to keep your pool clean and hygienic, being overly enthusiastic in this department can cause some dental drama.
When it comes to tooth decay, there are a number of obvious suspects. But it's just as important to be aware of the less-than-obvious suspects too.