Dental Tips | 16 September, 2019

Five Surprising Way You Are Damaging Your Teeth

You brush, you floss and you visit your local dentist at least once a year. All you need for an A+ in oral care, right? Wrong.

There are many ways in which you can damage your teeth. Many are plainly obvious – cracking open that bottle with your teeth, drinking too much sugary drink, some medications, smoking, grinding your teeth….

But even the most (oral) health-conscious person may not be aware that there are some surprising culprits waiting to damage your pearly whites.

Here are five ways in which you are surprisingly damaging your teeth:

Dried fruit

  • Although eating fruit is important for overall good health, eating too much of the dried variety could be damaging your teeth. Although all fruit contains sugar, fresh fruit also contains a lot of water which helps balance out any possible damage to the teeth. Dried fruit is another matter.
  • Dried fruit is extremely acidic and particularly harmful to teeth. It is packed full of sugar which bacteria in turn feeds on, producing acid as waste. That acid then leads to erosion. Our tip – drinking water and eating food with neutralising qualities, such as cheese, can help reduce the negative effect on teeth.
  • (Adding insult to injury, dried fruits often get stuck in your teeth, inviting even more bacteria to the party. Your best bet? Skip the dried fruit and opt for the fresh stuff.)

Sugar-free beverages

  • We know drinking sugary fizzy drinks puts our teeth at risk. But drinking the non-sugar type is almost as bad.
  • Most people know that drinking sugary drinks can cause tooth decay, but another cause of cavities is the dental erosion that occurs when teeth are exposed to acid.
  • Phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid are some of the ingredients in ‘diet’ drinks and fruit juices that damage teeth. It is also noting that any citrus juices are high in citric acid, which also have the same effect on your teeth.

Too hard – brushing and bristles!

  • Some people believe the firmer the toothbrush, the better.  This isn’t so, especially for older adults.  With age, the gums push back and the roots of the teeth become exposed, often increasing sensitivity.  You may also think that the harder you brush the whiter your teeth will be, but again, this is not true. Brushing too hard may cause damage to your enamel, irritate gums, and make your teeth sensitive. Read our Ultimate Brushing and Flossing Guide.

Swimming in pools

  • We know no one actually swims with their mouth open, however pools with too much chlorine contain pH levels can cause enamel erosion as water occasionally seeps into your mouth during your swim session.
  • In recent years, more and more evidence shows the connection between improperly chlorinated pools and tooth damage. Our tip – keep your mouth shut when swimming!


  • Surprise! Another health problem is linked to stress. Stress is a common cause of health problems, and your oral health is no exception. Stress may contribute to teeth grinding, gum disease, dry mouth and canker sores and may also impact your oral health routine and diet—increasing your risk of tooth decay.

Now that we’ve got those tips out of the way, if you have any concerns, why not book in for an exam and x-ray or a hygienist appointment at your local Lumino The Dentists practice. We have over 100 practices up and down New Zealand.