Keeping Teeth Clean At The Restaurant: 8 Easy Tips

Eating at home makes keeping your teeth clean an easy chore. Your bathroom is only a short trip away, so a quick rinsing, mouthwashing or brushing presents no trouble. Even at work, the chance to head to the bathroom for a quick rinse or brush is easy to find, and may even provide a much-needed break. But at the restaurant or bar, when you are eating out with friends? Taking care of your teeth quickly becomes a challenge – or a point you quickly forget about entirely.

Here are several ideas on how to take care of your teeth, even when you are eating out.

Get a Crunchy Side:

If possible, order a side of salad or raw veggies or crunchy fruit to go with your food (sorry, chips and nuts just don’t cut it). These foods are great for your teeth because they take lots of chewing to get through, and in the process they rub all the starchy, sugary foods off of your teeth. It may not seem like much, but alternate bites of your crunchy sides with bites of your main dish, and the results will be a lot better than nothing. Keep in mind, if you order that salad it should be filled with a lot of crunchy cabbage or carrots, not languishing in meats and sauces.

Use Gum:

Yes, you can brush your teeth at a restaurant, but its pretty weird. You have to carry a toothbrush around with you, excuse yourself around when the check comes, and brush in a bathroom surrounded by strangers. If all of this makes you uncomfortable, stick with an easier substitute. Just a bit of sugar-free gum can go a long way to cleaning your teeth of any extra food bits that might have been left behind, and it is far more polite than using one of those old-fashioned toothpicks.

Switch to Straws:

Here’s a simple restaurant rule to follow: If you are drinking water, drink it straight from the glass and do not be afraid to swirl it around a few times before swallowing. That will help remove food particles. But if you are drinking anything with sugar in it, especially something like a soda, switch to a straw and try to bypass your teeth as much as possible to avoid issues with sugary residue.

Use a Toothbrush Substitute:

If you aren’t packing any gum and still dislike the idea of a toothbrush, try using a substitute in the restaurant. A quick trip to the bathroom can still help you clean your teeth. Even rubbing them with a finger is better than nothing – you can also use a scrap of napkin and give your teeth a quick wipe. It is far less obtrusive than using a toothbrush and every little bit still helps.

Avoid the Dessert Menu:

Out of everything you eat at a restaurant, desserts remain the worst for your teeth, no matter what item you pick out. So if you are eating at someplace that offers dessert, politely decline. Chances are good that you are already full, and that dessert will just add extra calories and hurt your teeth in the long term.

Dodge Overly-Sweet Foods:

Even without the dessert menu, some foods are more dangerous than others. Try to stay away from overly sweet foods that use unnecessarily sweetened sauces or additives. Chinese food is a major culprit in this regard, but any chicken glaze or caramelized side is also guilty. This foods combine carbs and processed sugars in just the wrong way.

Careful with the Alcohol:

Alcohol can alter the pH of your mouth and expose your tooth enamel to dangerous acids that wear it away over time. Stay away from the major culprits if possible – drinks like beer, whiskey and red wine are the worst.

Home-Based Care:

If you can’t clean your teeth when you’re out, don’t sweat it. Grab your toothbrush and take a minute to clean when you reach home. A few extra hours won’t matter too much, as long as you get those extra food particles off before you go to bed.

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Gavin Reed is a professional blogger that shares information on the latest technology in oral care for Embassy Dental, a top dental practice in the Nashville TN area.