Did you know that many of the foods we enjoy everyday can damage our teeth? While everyone has plaque (a film of bacteria) on our teeth, some foods actually cause this bacteria to grow! These developing bacteria and acids can attack the enamel of teeth and, over time, it may break down.
So what food and drink should you avoid to help stop tooth decay? Let’s have a look.
You’re probably not surprised to learn that candy can be bad for teeth. But, did you know that sticky candy, like gummies or sour candy, can cause even more trouble? Chewy candy clings to your teeth for a longer time and allows the build up of decay-causing acids. Sour candy has a different kind of acid that’s even worse on your teeth! It should also be mentioned that hard candy that is sucked on for a while, which can create a concentration of acid, should be avoided.
Sodas and Fizzy Drinks
Drinks that are carbonated (whether regular or diet soda) help coat each tooth with acid that will accelerate decay. The occasional pop is okay but avoid drinking soda throughout the day or swishing it around your teeth. Treat yourself occasionally to colas by drinking them through a straw. Straws help route the soda and sugars away from your teeth. The best habit you can start is drinking regular water every time you want refreshment!
Think again before you start making that peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich! When you eat white bread, white bagels or even crackers, your saliva breaks down the carbohydrates and starches into…you guessed it…sugar. White, refined bread becomes a paste that wants to stick to each crevice in your teeth! These starches, made from white flour, in particular, linger in your mouth and break down into acids. If you’re a lover of carbs, consider whole wheat or less refined bread where there are minimal added sugars.
When you enjoy a glass of wine, mixed drink or beer, the alcohol will dry out your mouth. Saliva is your friend! Keeping the mouth naturally moist with saliva is an important defense against bacteria and acids. A healthy amount of saliva washes away food particles, helps in swallowing foods, and it also is a defense against bad breath. Alcohol in some wines and mixed drinks also contain damaging sugars, which should be avoided.
Apples and Citrus
High acidity fruits, like apples and oranges, are harsh on teeth. While these fruits offer a beneficial and natural source of vitamins, the natural acid can erode the enamel of teeth, which can accelerate tooth decay. Even adding a squirt of lemon to water increases the acidity to a drink. As with most decay-causing foods, enjoy these in moderation but brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out with water afterward!
Don’t be discouraged about foods that can cause damage to your teeth! There are plenty of healthy, great-tasting foods and drinks that help fight decay and promote good oral health.