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Why common sense is ruining your teeth

In life, most of the time you can apply a bit of logic to a situation and get by just fine. Sadly, this isn’t always the case when it comes to your teeth. As a dentist, I spend most of my time politely trying to tell people they’ve got it wrong and it’s a tricky message to get across without sounding inflammatory:

“Sorry, but if you keep doing that you (or your child) will get cavities.”
There’s really no easy way to say that!
Anyway, that’s my problem, not yours.
But one of my goals with HaBox has always been to avoid those conversations as much as possible by educating as many people as possible about dental health. One of the biggest areas of misconception when it comes to keeping teeth healthy is sugary snacks – specifically, how and when to eat them to minimise the risk to teeth. Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all avoid sugary snacks at all costs. But I’m a realist (and a parent!), and I know that simply isn’t going to happen. So, the second-best course of action is for us all to do our best to make better choices around what we eat, when we eat it and how we keep our teeth strong enough to cope with our modern-day snack habits.

Here’s my advice on the common pitfalls to avoid and ways to keep your family’s
teeth healthy in our sugary world!
Sure-fire ways to ruin your teeth (without even knowing!):
Eating raisins as a snack
It seems counter-intuitive, because raisins are fruit, right?! SO many parents believe (understandably) they are giving their child a healthy snack when they reach for that little box of shrivelled-up grapes. But sadly, dried and blended fruit is truly awful for our teeth – the reality is, we might as well eat a bag of Haribo. The process of drying fruit releases the sugars, and the sticky texture extends the time that sugar is on our teeth. 
Brushing teeth straight after a snack
It seems logical that if we brush our teeth after eating a sugary snack, we’ll be getting the sugar off our teeth. But actually, our tooth enamel is immediately weakened by eating sugar, and it needs time to repair. Brushing immediately afterwards will only damage it more!
Forgetting to brush teeth before bed
When we sleep, our saliva flow reduces, which puts our teeth at greater risk
of decay. Not brushing before bed only adds to this problem.

Ways to enjoy sugary snacks AND keep your teeth healthy:
Eating sugary snacks after a meal
Believe it or not, there IS a way we can eat sugar and not get cavities. Our teeth can repair three sugar-acid attacks per day – but no more. So, if we only eat sugary snacks with breakfast, lunch or dinner, we’re piggy backing onto an existing acid attack, rather than adding in another one that can’t be repaired. Between meals, if you or your kids are hungry, choose fresh fruit – not the kind of ‘fruit’ that comes in a packet, just standard pick-it-off-a-tree fruit! It’s totally tooth-friendly and good for our bodies, too.
Chewing xylitol gum after a snack
Xylitol gum will rebalance the pH in your mouth and help strengthen your teeth after eating sugar.
Waiting 30 minutes after eating to brush
This allows saliva to strengthen the enamel, making it strong enough to withstand brushing without damage.
Visiting the dentist
Contrary to the stereotype, dentists are not here to judge or shame you for
eating sugary snacks (we’re human beings too, and most of us indulge in
chocolate and sweets from time to time!). We know it’s impossible to get it right all day, every day. Our job is to help you forge healthy habits, inspire your children to take care of their teeth and pick up on any problems before they escalate. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly and take your kids as soon as they get their first tooth or turn one, whichever is sooner.

Follow these principles most of the time, and you’ll never get another cavity! 
Make sure you're following us on social media to talk more about these life hacks with our founder and dentist Katie @myhaboxuk

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