Today is Shrove Tuesday – also known as Pancake Day!

Whether you prefer American-style pancakes or French crepes, spare a thought for your teeth before you dig in. Your choice of topping could have a big impact on your oral health.

Wondering which toppings are bad news for your pearly whites? Here’s some food for thought…

Lemon and Sugar

One of the UK’s favourite pancake toppings is the classic choice of lemon and sugar. In fact, a YouGov survey revealed that this is the favourite topping for 63% of Brits on Pancake Day. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most harmful choices you can make for your teeth. Lemon is highly acidic and erodes the enamel of the teeth, while its partner in crime, sugar, is a key culprit for causing tooth decay. Eating both lemon and sugar at once means that your teeth are under attack twice in one go.

To help combat this, chew sugar-free gum after eating. This will help to stimulate saliva flow in the mouth and help fight harmful acids.


If you prefer to add golden syrup to your pancake, bear in mind that golden syrup is pure sugar, and is extremely sticky, so can be difficult to remove from your teeth. The longer it lingers on your teeth, the more damage it can do, so rinse away syrupy residue from your mouth by drinking a glass of water after eating.


Nutella is a popular choice for pancakes, but even though it contains a high dairy content, did you know that half a jar of Nutella is pure sugar (56%)? Once again, the higher the sugar content, the worse it is for your teeth, so try to limit the amount of Nutella you spoon on to your pancake, and drink plenty of water afterwards.


Alternatively, you could try a savoury pancake instead this year? Experiment with toppings such as cheese, ham, mushrooms and spinach, which are kinder to your teeth – and may also be less calorific!


If you can’t resist the traditional sweet pancake, try to limit the amount of pancakes you make, and wait for an hour after eating before brushing your teeth. If you brush too soon, you could do further damage to your enamel, which will already have been softened by acid and sugar attacks.

Shrove Tuesday is followed by Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent. Many people use this time to give something up for forty days before the arrival of Easter. If you’ve been intending to cut down on sweet treats, Lent could be a good time to give it a try. Your teeth will thank you for it!

Remember – it’s also important to keep up a good oral health routine, including brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist and hygienist every six months.

If you’re due for you next dental assessment or hygienist appointment, book with your chosen Honour Health practice at Jesmond, Stanley or Ponteland.