Your outward appearance is everything. At least if we’re talking about first impressions, right? So, we brush our teeth regularly and floss when we remember, but could you be sabotaged even if you do have good oral hygiene practices? It’s very possible. There are some items in your regular diet that you might not suspect could be harming your teeth, and there are a few others that seem like a no brainer. We’ve put together a list of the 8 worst foods for your teeth, as well as with a few helpful solutions to beat those troublesome snacks.
1. Processed carbohydrates
Believe it or not, that white bread you have on your midday sandwich, and those crunchy crackers you usually pair with cheese, can have adverse effects on your teeth. Since carbs are essentially sugars, when you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates like white, processed breads, you’re basically just putting more sugar in your mouth – which tends to stick around, potentially causing cavities.
While ice water is a wonderful refreshment in the heat of the summer, make sure you leave the ice in the cup. Even though it might be tempting to crunch on it, chewing on ice is a good way to set yourself up for a dental emergency. Since ice is so hard, it can cause your teeth to chip, crowns or bridges to fall out, and it will also wear down the enamel on your teeth.
3. Citrus Fruits
A healthy diet consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables, but it’s important not to overdo it on citrus fruits like limes, lemons, grapefruits and oranges. The acid in these fruits is very harsh on your teeth, wears down your enamel, and can exacerbate any mouth sores that you might have. We’re not saying to put down the lemons forever, just make sure these types of fruits are taken in moderation.
4. Sports Drinks and Sodas
We’re sure you’ve long been warned against the dangers of soda; excessive amounts of sugar, carbonation, and added chemicals are a recipe for disastrous tooth decay. But did you know that sports drinks can be just as bad? Many sports drinks are often highly acidic, and if you check the nutrition label, many of them list sugar as the first ingredient – not so good for those pearly whites. If you’re really looking for a recovery drink after a hard workout, turn to water or chocolate milk, both healthier options that will save your teeth too.
5. Hard candies and gummies
Hard candies are bad for your teeth because they can often cause dental emergencies when teeth chip or when dental appliances are broken. And gummies are just as bad. Oftentimes, gummies will stick to your teeth, which means sugar is concentrated in your mouth for an extended period of time, provoking cavities.
6. Dried Fruit
Though dried fruit is certainly a better option than gummy candies, they tend to have some very similar effects. Fruits naturally contain a lot of sugar, and when they’ve been dried, the sugar is concentrated and the fruits become even stickier. So, they latch onto your teeth, and stick there, allowing sugar to sit in your mouth – the perfect recipe for cavities.
Most people have heard that red wine can stain your teeth, which is true, but all alcohol can be bad for your teeth in excess. The major issue is that it dries out your mouth, which means there’s no saliva to wash away sugars and other chemicals that can hurt your teeth. Without enough saliva, your mouth and teeth will be more susceptible to cavities and gum disease.
A rather unexpected culprit, too many pickles can destroy the enamel on your teeth. That’s because the main pickling agent, vinegar, contains enough acid that can stain and wear away the enamel on your teeth.
3 Ways to Prevent Tooth Decay:
- Make healthier choices
The best way to control damage from these foods is to stay away from them, but it’s impossible to stay away from everything, since some of these foods are essential parts of a healthy diet. It’s a good idea then to choose healthier options, as many times these alternatives can be better for your teeth as well as the rest of your body. For example, the next time you go to the store for bread, try to pick out something whole grain rather than a super-refined white bread. This way, you’ll avoid as much unnecessary sugar as possible.
- Brush your teeth after every meal
If you brush your teeth after every meal, and especially after consuming the foods listed above, you’ll be getting rid of the leftover sugars and chemicals as quickly as possible. This means less contact with your teeth, and less possibility for damage. No toothbrush handy? Try to at least rinse your mouth out with water, which will get rid of any major leftovers before they cause too much damage.
- Pick chocolate instead
Now this isn’t advice you hear very often, but if you’ve got a craving for something sweet, opt for a square of dark chocolate rather than hard candies or gummies. Chocolate is not as tough as a hard candy, and since chocolate will melt in your mouth, sugar won’t stick to your teeth like it would with a gummy.
If you have more questions about eating well for your teeth, or if you suspect you may already have a cavity, feel free to give our office a call at 231-737-5500 or schedule your own appointment online today!