When you spend your days munching on sugary foods and drinks, you are not only feeding yourself but also those germs living in your mouth that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Taking the saying, “you are what you eat” to a whole new level.
When these sugars and starches enter your mouth and come into contact with plaque, acid will begin to form. These acids can spend up to 20 minutes attacking your teeth long after you’re done eating, causing the enamel to break down on your teeth. This could lead to tooth decay, which can then cause inflammatory responses to be triggered and breakdown your gums, bones, and other supporting structures of your teeth.
It’s important to know what foods invite tooth decay into your mouth, and which foods fight it. To help, we have put together a list of foods to avoid in order to maintain your best smile.
Candy being number one on this list probably isn’t a big shock. Candy is pure sugar that is notoriously known for causing cavities. Yes, some candies may seem harmless, but constant exposure to that much sugar is going to harm your teeth.
Chewing on hard candies are extremely damaging to your teeth due to the fact that one wrong bite and you can break your tooth. So, not only will you be putting your teeth at risk due to all the sugar, but on top of that, you will have to worry about chipping off a piece every time you chomp down.
Just thinking about sour candies makes us pucker up. So, imagine puckering up to a mouth full of cavities. Sour candies are usually chewy, soft, and coated with sugar, making them stick to your teeth long after you’re finished consuming them. Having these candies stick to your teeth is going to allow different types of acids to attack your teeth, causing harmful damage to occur.
If your sweet tooth is something you can’t fully give up, try selecting candies and sweets that won’t stick to your teeth after you’ve consumed them. A good place to start is with some sugarless gum.
We will admit, starchy foods tend to be some of our favorite foods. However, once you read about all the damage they can do, you might reconsider walking down that bread aisle.
It’s hard to turn down bread, especially when it tastes so good, but bread is actually one of the worst starches you can consume. When you eat bread, the starches are broken down by your saliva. Once it is broken down, it turns into a paste-like substance that tends to stay on your teeth for a long period of time, increasing your odds of tooth decay. If you find yourself craving some carbs, we suggest going for some wheat bread for that breakfast toast. The wheat option contains less sugar and isn’t easily broken down.
Nothing beats that crunch of a delicious potato chip. Unfortunately, those pesky snacks are loaded with starches that eventually turn into sugar. And those bad starches can get trapped in between your teeth and feed the bacteria in the plaque. Potato chips also tend to produce acid that can linger around and eventually cause tooth decay. If you do decide to indulge, make sure you floss right after to get rid of any leftover chips.
Drinking alcohol is definitely not the healthiest option. But did you know that when you drink an alcoholic beverage, it actually dries out your mouth? That’s right. Alcohol will dry your mouth out and cause you to have issues producing saliva, which is incredibly important for your oral health. Saliva keeps food from sticking to your teeth and helps wash down food particles. So, a dry mouth will make that very difficult. On another serious note, heavy alcohol use can increase your risk of mouth cancer. So, if you find yourself enjoying a cold beer, make sure you are drinking plenty of water at the same time to keep your mouth hydrated.
Even if it has the word “diet” on it, nothing good comes from soda or pop. These beverages enable plaque to attach to your teeth and dry out your mouth. These beverages also tend to have lots of acid in them, causing severe damage to your teeth if consumed too often. And to make things even worse, dark-colored beverages can stain your pearly whites.
Coffee, and even tea, are notorious for causing teeth stains. And all that extra sugar and flavor you add? All it does is cause tooth decay and damage to your teeth. If you need your coffee to get your day started, try keeping the extra add-ins to a minimum. Once you are done, we also suggest drinking a glass of water to keep your mouth hydrated.
We know that a sports drink is irresistible after a hard workout, but the main ingredient is actually sugar. Sugar is actually the main ingredient in almost all sports drinks, making them a bad option for your body and your teeth. The last thing you need after a five-mile run is a cavity.
For a handful of fruits, acid is a key component. And the truth is, frequent exposure to acidic fruits can erode your enamel, causing your teeth to become more susceptible to decay.
Like we mentioned above, acidic fruits can be very harmful to your teeth. Even adding a little bit of citrus to your drink can add acid to your beverage. If you can’t toss out your oranges and lemons quite yet, try to eat them in moderation.
Lots of people tend to go for the dried fruit thinking they are choosing a healthier option. However, dried fruit’s main ingredient is actually sugar. You see, when people dry out fruit they tend to take out most of the healthy nutrients, leaving behind the chewy fruit. And like we mentioned earlier, chewy foods tend to stick to your teeth more and cause sugar and particles to linger for a long time afterward. If you have already packed your dried fruit in your lunch box, make sure you floss and rinse well after eating.
Repeat after us, ice is for chilling, NOT chewing. Chewing ice can cause severe damage to your enamel, or even worse, a broken tooth. We know it can be addicting to chew and eat your ice while sipping on your beverage, but it’s in your best interest to enjoy wanter in its liquid form.
With proper dental maintenance like cleanings and exams, and keeping our tips on foods to avoid at the front of your mind, you’ll be on your way to maintaining that gorgeous smile of yours with no problem. Make an appointment with us today and let us help you keep those teeth healthy!