Your diet can have a big impact on your oral health. Certain foods can help fight cavities, while others can erode your enamel. Listed below are some of the worst foods for your oral health.
When sugar is eaten or drunk it interacts with the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid that eats away at the enamel on your teeth, causing tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed off these sugars so they are attracted to them. This causes the plaque to adhere more tightly to the teeth. While brushing can help remove these sticky bacterial deposits, it won’t prevent them from forming in the first place. It’s best to avoid sugary foods altogether to keep your teeth healthy.
Not only are candies bad for your teeth, but so is chewing on anything too hard! This includes ice, nuts, seeds, and even popcorn kernels. When your teeth are consistently exposed to hard materials, they can become damaged or infected. Sensitive teeth also indicate that you may be biting down too hard, causing extra wear and tear on your pearly whites. Avoid crunchy snacks and other harder items to protect your teeth from damage.
The sugar found in these candies is also harmful to your oral tissues. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and causes acid production that wears away at your tooth enamel. This can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and a host of other oral health issues. If you must indulge in a sweet treat, try sticking to sugar-free varieties. Also, make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water afterward. This will wash away any remaining particles of sugar and prevent damage to your teeth.
Sugary beverages like soft drinks are some of the worst things you can consume for your oral health. They can cause cavities, oral infections, and even damage tooth enamel. When your teeth are bathed in sugar for an extended period of time, the bacteria in your mouth will feed off the sugar and produce acids that can wear down your tooth enamel and lead to a greater chance of tooth decay.
You don’t have to give up soda completely, but you should drink it less frequently and when you do drink it, use a straw to minimize the contact with your teeth. You can also drink water or milk with your meal to help wash down the acid-producing sugars.
Coffee and Tea
Although coffee and tea contain antioxidants, they also contain tannins that can absorb into the tooth’s enamel, weakening it over time. Compounds found in coffee can also stain teeth with repeated use. In addition, the acidity in coffee and tea can erode the tooth’s enamel.
Dry wines contain more acid than sweet or semi-sweet varieties. Acidic foods and beverages can erode tooth enamel and weaken teeth, making them more prone to damage and decay. Red wine is especially acidic when consumed in large amounts. If you do drink red wine, use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking wine to wash away leftover residue. If you are concerned about your risk of developing cavities from drinking red wine, talk to your dentist about the best beverage choices for your dental health.
Drinking sports drinks after your workout can seem like a great way to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise, but you also lose important minerals in your saliva when you drink them. Plus, many popular sports drinks contain lots of sugar and dyes that can damage your teeth. Keep your teeth healthy and drink water instead!
Citrus Fruits and Juices
Citrus fruits and juices should be avoided or limited due to their acidic nature. Acidic foods and beverages wear down the enamel on teeth, putting you at risk for decay. After consuming citrus fruits, avoid brushing your teeth for at least an hour to allow the enamel to re-mineralize. Rinse your mouth out with water after eating to limit acid exposure and rinse your mouth after drinking citrus juice to dilute the acidity.
Dried fruits are a healthy snack alternative for many people. They provide fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. However, dried fruits are sticky and can get stuck in tiny grooves in the teeth. The stickiness of dried fruit makes them more difficult to remove from the mouth; that increases the risk of tooth decay. If your gums bleed when you floss or brush, this is a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is reversible, but the longer it goes untreated, the more at risk you are for tooth loss. Try to enjoy dried fruit in moderation. Flossing and brushing after consuming the snack can reduce the risk of cavities.
Call Dr. Ronald F. Jacob, DMD, at (386) 445-6111 if you wish to learn more about ways to maintain good oral health. We are located at 17 Old King's Road N, Palm Coast, FL 32137. If you have any questions about teeth whitening, give our dental office a call. We’re happy to answer them. Happy holidays!