[A G & T is a surprisingly tooth-healthy drink when enjoying some rest and recreation on holiday. Photo by Beth MacKenzie]
Just because you let your hair down on holiday doesn’t mean that you have to let the state of your teeth go down too. And while you’d rather be reading the latest John Grisham on your sun lounge than flicking through a chart detailing the pH acidic level of your favourite holiday foods and drinks, it can pay to do a little healthy planning before your holiday begins.
The pH level is an indicator of how acidic a type of food or drink is. It is best to opt for food and drink which have high pH levels as these will have lower levels of acidity and should present less of a risk of causing tooth decay when you consume them. With this in mind, here are seven types of food and drink you should consider ordering while on holiday.
1. White Bread
According to the British Dental Health Foundation, white bread has a relatively low pH level of 5.0-6.0. High levels of salt can make it harmful for your heart but it should be kind to your teeth and it’s so tasty too!
2. Feta Cheese
When on holiday in Greece it is hard to avoid Feta Cheese and, thanks to its low pH level of 5.0 to 6.1, there is little reason to avoid this crumbly delight on dental grounds. This low acidity level makes it even healthier for teeth than cottage cheese (which has a still-relatively low-level of 4.1 to 5.4).
3. Brown Rice
White rice has it’s germ removed; meaning that brown rice (which retains the germ) goes rancid more quickly. However, brown rice is generally considered more natural and nutritious and its low pH level of 6.0 makes it a healthy chewy option to choose.
4. Gin and Tonic
While wine and cider are two examples of alcoholic drinks which are high in acid, there is one holiday bar beverage which you can order without compromising your dental health. Gin and Tonic has a pH level of just 6.9 (compared to lager’s 4.4). Since it has always been associated with warm countries (it was introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India) a G & T is the ideal holiday tipple.
5. Sparkling water
Drinking sparkling water, rather than gulping down sugary soft drinks, is a good way of ensuring that your teeth continue to sparkle. Sparkling water gets its sparkle from the process of ‘carbonation’ whereby carbon dioxide gas is dissolved into water. Research conducted in 2001 found that the addition of sugar to water, rather than carbonation, is the main cause of tooth decay among mineral waters and soft drinks. Sparkling water has a pH level of 6.2 but is it less acidic than still water? Read on to find out…
6. Still water
In answer to the question posed above, still water is less acidic than sparkling water but the difference is surprisingly tiny (7.6 compared to 7.4). All dentists agree that water and milk are the two drinks which are healthiest to teeth – as milk is hardly a holiday-style drink it is best to stick to the water!
7. Hot Dogs
Admittedly hot dogs are hardly a fashionable choice of meal if you’re on holiday in the Mediterranean but you can’t go wrong if you order them in America and their pH level is an impressive 6.2. Why they are less acidic than meals like fish and chips (4.6 – 6.7) and pasta (an alarmingly acidic 3.0) is a mystery to me. Perhaps someone could write another article explaining the science behind it!
Author: James Christie writes for London dental practice Ethicare. Ethicare provide teeth whitening treatment for patients looking for great looking holiday teeth.