Give your teeth a break and prevent tooth wear: 6 easy lifestyle tips

Written by: Professor Andrew Eder
Published: | Updated: 06/09/2021
Edited by: Emma McLeod

Tooth wear is an increasing problem due to keeping our teeth for longer and the acidic foods and drinks we consume, but giving your teeth some TLC can lessen the impact that such an acidic diet might have. Professor Andrew Eder, a specialist in prosthodontics and restorative dentistry, provides you with easy to implement tips to prevent your teeth from becoming needlessly worn down.

A woman smiling and drinking through a straw

1. Carry a straw for your drinks

Do you know how many drinks are acidic? The list includes:

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Smoothies
  • Alcohol

The acidity of these liquids can damage the outer surfaces of our teeth and contribute to tooth wear. However, if you use a wide straw, the liquid is directed to the back of the mouth and it avoids being swished around the mouth. What’s more, the straw doesn’t need to be made of plastic. You can keep things environmentally friendly by using a reusable or paper straw.


2. Have some chewing gum

By chewing sugar-free gum after eating or drinking, you help your mouth stimulate saliva. The benefit of saliva is that it neutralises acid in your mouth, which means that it will minimise the possibility of teeth being worn away and decayed. If you’re not a fan of chewing gum, you could also have a little milk or cheese as this can also help to reduce the effects of acidic foods and drinks.


3. Brush your teeth at the right time – and in the right way!

Unknown to many, you should leave at least an hour between consuming acidic foods/drinks and brushing teeth. If you can’t wait, use a fluoridated mouthwash and apply a paste containing high fluoride or calcium phosphate– but don’t rinse afterwards. When you do brush your teeth, use a fluoridated toothpaste and brush gently to remove plaque.


4. Think about when you snack

When it comes to acidic snacks (think fruits, salad dressings, soft drinks and alcohol), aim to consume them at mealtimes. By doing so, you minimise the risk that they’ll damage your teeth whilst still having a good and healthy balanced diet. If you want to snack between meals, try less acidic food like cheese, carrots, celery, boiled eggs, hummus and pitta. The web is full of alternative snack options that are low in acidity.


5. Relax your jaw

A stressful lifestyle has been linked to teeth clenching and grinding at night, which causes tooth wear. Think about any stressful elements of your life you could influence with some small lifestyle changes, such as reading, having a bath or relaxing before bed. Alternatively, a mouthguard worn overnight could help to save your teeth.


6. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to see your dentist

Whether you need to address concerns about tooth wear or would like advice on preventing it, your dentist will be on hand to help you protect your teeth.


Professor Andrew Eder is a leading specialist in restorative dentistry and prosthodontics. Receive highly professional and personalised care from Professor Eder by visiting his profile.

Professor Andrew Eder

By Professor Andrew Eder

Professor Andrew Eder is an experienced dentist, specialist and academic.

He has been in Private Practice in central London for over 30 years and is recognised by the General Dental Council as a Specialist in Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics.

Throughout his career, Professor Eder has been involved in training specialists and providing high quality care for patients with complex oral health needs

He is also Emeritus Professor and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute

As Co-Editor of the British Dental Journal book on Tooth Surface Loss, Professor Eder has a special interest in looking after patients with worn teeth.

Professor Eder has received honorary fellowships and degrees as well as awards for teaching and learning and has entries in both Who's Who and Debrett's People of Today.

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