How your New Year health kick could be ruining your TEETH


Juice cleanses, lemon water and switching to a non-dairy milk may be the health habits some are looking to adopt for the New Year. 

Advocates argue the liquid-only diet boosts weight loss, the citrus drink powers the immune system and plant-based milk is better for health and the planet. 

But experts told MailOnline that the trends could cause ‘long-term damage’ to teeth and leave health fanatics needing the dentist.

Juice cleanses, lemon water and switching to a non-dairy milk may be the health habits some are looking to adopt for the New Year. But experts told MailOnline that the trends could cause ‘long-term damage’ to teeth and leave health fanatics needing the dentist

Juice cleanses involve consuming only fruit and vegetable juices. They usually last between one and 10 days and promise rapid weight loss

Juice cleanses involve consuming only fruit and vegetable juices. They usually last between one and 10 days and promise rapid weight loss

Juice cleanses 

Dr Payal Bhalla, a dentist at Ipswich Dental Surgery, told MailOnline that while juice cleanses can boost overall health, they can cause ‘long-term damage’ to teeth.

The diet involves consuming only fruit and vegetable juices. 

They usually last between one and 10 days and promise rapid weight loss.

But they are a crash diet — so unlikely to result in long-term weight loss — and don’t offer all the nutrients the body needs, such as protein.

On top of this, Dr Bhalla said: ‘The high content of sugar that comes from these juices after drinking them daily can wear away tooth enamel and promote cavities. 

‘The bacteria that sits on the teeth after drinking juice may also irritate the gums and could eventually lead to gum disease.’

Even juices made just from fruit can contain around 16g sugar per 200ml glass. 

But many cleanses see people drink 3 litres per day.

Squeezing fresh lemon juice into water is touted as a wait to boost the immune system and aid digestion

Squeezing fresh lemon juice into water is touted as a wait to boost the immune system and aid digestion

Lemon water

Squeezing fresh lemon juice into water is touted as a way to boost the immune system, aid digestion and support weight loss.

Lemons are packed with vitamin C, which studies suggest can help fight off infections. 

Citric acid has also been shown to help the stomach break down food, while the fruit is also thought to boost metabolism.

But Dr Bhalla said the habit may cause ‘enamel erosion or tooth decay’ due to the drink being highly acidic.

On top of these dental problems, drinking too much can cause heartburn, nausea, headaches and other gastroesophageal reflux symptoms.

Dentists advise lemon water fans to brush their teeth before drinking it, use a straw to minimise contact with the teeth and rinse the mouth with water afterwards. 

Dr Saul Konviser, a dentist at Montagu Dental in west London and member of the Dental Wellness Trust, told MailOnline that some may turn to the trend as part of a ‘healthy approach’ to the New Year.

But the drink is ‘very acidic’ which can cause ‘enamel erosion and potential tooth sensitivity, fractures and leave you far more likely to get a cavity or need treatment’, he said.

Dr Konviser added: ‘If you’ve consumed anything acidic, try to at least have a rinse with water to remove the acids and then wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth because of the weakened state of your enamel. 

‘Brushing the teeth immediately after an acid attack can remove even more enamel.’

One in the Britons and Americans now drink plant-based milk, with a rising number making the swap from cow's to oat, almond and soya versions

One in the Britons and Americans now drink plant-based milk, with a rising number making the swap from cow’s to oat, almond and soya versions

Plant-based milk

One in the Britons and Americans now drink plant-based milk, with a rising number making the swap from cow’s to oat, almond and soya versions.

Some cite health perks, such as the same high protein content alongside a lower level of unsaturated fat, while others point to environmental benefits.

However, removing dairy milk can leave people with a calcium deficiency, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, Dr Bhalla said.

She said some plant-based milks can cause the mouth bacteria to produce six-times more acid than dairy milk.

‘This is worrying as more acid means a bigger chance of enamel erosion as well as more chances of experiencing decay and cavities,’ Dr Bhalla added.

Shots of apple cider vinegar ¿ which is made by fermenting the sugar that's naturally present in apples and adding yeast or bacteria ¿ is touted for improving digestion, supporting the immune system and lowering blood sugar

Shots of apple cider vinegar — which is made by fermenting the sugar that’s naturally present in apples and adding yeast or bacteria — is touted for improving digestion, supporting the immune system and lowering blood sugar

Apple cider vinegar

Shots of apple cider vinegar — which is made by fermenting the sugar that’s naturally present in apples and adding yeast or bacteria — is touted for improving digestion, supporting the immune system and boosting heart health.

This is down to its gut-friendly bacteria, antibacterial properties linked with fighting off infection and its ability to lower level of triglycerides — which can lead to fatty plaques forming in arteries. 

Celebrity fans include Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry.

But Dr Bhalla said: ‘Whilst apple cider vinegar may offer some benefits to your health, it can be rather damaging for your teeth, especially if you are drinking daily. 

‘Vinegar is extremely acidic and can erode the enamel on your teeth extremely quickly if you are drinking daily.

‘This then exposes the yellow dentin layer beneath.

‘Not only is this extremely damaging for your teeth — as our enamel is imperative for a healthy tooth — but this will also make them look yellow.’

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What are the best ways to ease pain of mouth ulcers? DR MARTIN SCURR answers your health questions

When pain and bloating are a sign there’s too much fungus in your gut: DR MEGAN ROSSI reveals the fungi on our bodies have a significant impact 

A hair-raising development: Male pattern baldness eventually affects two-thirds of men… but new treatments are on the horizon meaning you don’t have to suffer in silence 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk