Everyone wants a healthy, clean and pearly white smile but if you’re eating these three foods in the morning, you could be negatively affecting your oral health and dental hygiene.
There are many things you can do to make sure your mouth is healthy, from using the best electric toothbrush to avoiding overly acidic foods. But according to dentist, Dr Abel Azizi, Principle Dentist of Harley Private Dentist Clinic, “it’s important to avoid certain foods that can have negative effects on your teeth, especially first thing in the morning when your mouth’s natural defenses are lower, due to decreased saliva production during sleep.”
To find out more, I spoke to Dr Azizi and he outlined three foods you should avoid first thing in the morning, especially if you’re eating them before you brush your teeth.
It’s also important to mention that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with eating these foods in the morning, but if you want to minimise their impact on your mouth, make sure to brush your teeth, floss regularly, use mouthwash and stay hydrated throughout the day.
I know coffee isn’t technically a food but let’s carry on. For most people, a cup of coffee is the first thing they have in the morning. But dentists and wellness experts recommend avoiding coffee too early in the morning. This is mainly due to coffee’s “dual impact of acidity and potential staining. It can gradually erode tooth enamel over time, particularly when consumed on an empty stomach when saliva production is lower,” says Dr Azizi. Coffee also has dark pigments which can lead to teeth discoloration, so it’s recommended to minimise your coffee consumption in the morning and rinse your mouth with water after drinking to counteract the effects.
There are many other reasons why you shouldn’t drink coffee first thing in the morning, including its effectiveness on your energy levels and causing stomach problems. In fact, it’s recommended to drink your first cup of coffee or tea about 3-4 hours after waking up to give your body a chance to rely on its natural hormones for energy, rather than caffeine. Find out more about this in our article: ‘what time should you start/stop drinking coffee?’
2. Citrus fruits
This next food is bad news if you enjoy a grapefruit or glass of orange juice in the morning. Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons and grapefruit, are best avoided first thing in the morning, as their high acidity levels can cause teeth damage. These fruits “contain citric acid that can weaken tooth enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to erosion and decay,” says Dr Azizi. “Morning saliva production is lower, reducing the mouth’s natural defense against acids, so consuming acidic fruits at this time can intensify the damage.”
3. Sugary cereals
While we all love a bowl of Coco Pops or Sugar Puffs to start the day, sugary cereals shouldn’t be your first meal, due to their high sugar content. As Dr Azizi explains, “sugary cereals and pastries create an environment conducive to harmful bacteria growth in the mouth, as they provide a steady source of sugars that bacteria feed on, leading to acid production and enamel erosion.” Instead, choosing a cereal that’s lower in sugar or a low-sugar breakfast in general, better supports your enamel and oral health.
If you do eat or drink any of these foods first thing in the morning, the best course of action is to brush your teeth about 30 minutes after eating, to allow time for your saliva to naturally neutralise some of the acids produced.
For more advice, take a look at these 7 mistakes everyone makes with electric toothbrushes.