Everyone likes to watch what they eat, whether it be for themselves or their children. But did you know that what you eat also has an effect on the health of your teeth? Certain foods can help feed the bacteria responsible for developing plaque or stains on your teeth, and others can break down your gums and teeth structure as enamel is deteriorated when sugars or starch is mixed with plaque. Here are 5 foods and drinks to avoid for healthy teeth:
Although a very popular beverage among children, soda can cause serious problems for the health of your teeth. The sugar in the drink sits on your teeth and erodes tooth enamel. This erosion can cause decay and cavities, and the chances are higher the more soda you drink! Soda also contains acidic byproducts, in addition to the sugars, that can wear away and soften tooth enamel, leaving them vulnerable to plaque buildup and erosion.
Citrus fruits and juices
Citrus is loaded with citric acid, which is the number one cause of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Acids found in fruits and fruit juices can cause cavities through erosion of your teeth. Different studies have shown that the acids found in fruit juices can be very harmful for your teeth. Researchers at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health discovered that drinking orange juice decreased the hardness of tooth enamel by 84%! Tufts Now also says that lemon and lime juices contain acid that is almost as corrosive as battery acid.
The number one effect that coffee has on your teeth is that it creates surface stains. These stains can be hard to remove naturally, and certain whitening techniques can damage the enamel of your teeth, leaving them more prone to erosion and plaque buildup. Depending on the type of coffee, and the amount of sugar you add, the drink can also contribute to the creation of acids in your mouth that will lead to tooth decay. In addition to tooth damage concerns, coffee can also lead to bad breath as it sticks to the tongue.
Lollipops, mints, and other hard candies expose teeth to sugar over a long period of time. Most of us like to chew on hard candies as well, which is something that can cause chips in teeth or even cracks, leaving a surface for plaque to buildup. Candy is loaded with sugar, which will combine with bacteria in your mouth to create acids and contribute to serious tooth decay. Sticky and chewy candies can also be a problem as they will get stuck in the crevices and spaces between your teeth. This prolonged exposure can also contribute to the formation of cavities and tooth decay.
In addition to just potato chips, all starch-based products can be bad for your teeth. Chips can get stuck in between your teeth, allowing the food particles to linger and give plaque-causing bacteria something to hold on to. Chips and other starch-based products can sometimes have as much sugar as candy. Carbohydrates break down into simple sugars once you’ve eaten them, and these sugars will hang around your mouth after the starchy snack has been broken down. Then, just like with a sugary drink or a piece of candy, bacteria will join with the sugars to eat away at your teeth.
Here are some tips from the team at Snodgrass-King to have healthy teeth:
- Eat acidic and sugary foods as part of a meal instead of on their own
- Contrary to popular belief, brushing right after you eat acidic food can speed up wear on your teeth because your enamel is already soft from the acid. Whenever you have an acidic food or beverage, rinse your mouth with water to remove some of the residue left behind.
- Limit snacking on sugary and acidic foods
- Use a fluoride toothpaste to help repair enamel and reduce tooth decay and erosion
- Try to use a straw when drinking coffee, wine, or soda.
Contact us today to schedule your next dentist appointment!