TOO MUCH OF THESE FOODS CAN INCREASE YOUR RISK OF TOOTH DECAY
A nutritious diet is not only good for you, but it can help reduce your risk of developing oral issues like gingivitis. Try cutting these treats out for better tooth health.
Diet and dental health have a more significant connection than many patients realize. After all, what you put into your mouth can affect your teeth and gums. Certain foods can help to benefit your oral health and promote saliva production, while others can do the opposite. Eating meals with lots of spice or acid, for example, can wear away at your tooth enamel, which is irreplaceable.
At Bela Family Dentistry of White Knoll, we understand that the battle against tooth decay doesn’t just happen in your bathroom. By cutting out or reducing some of these foods and drinks, you can help to prolong your oral health and fight away harmful bacteria.
1. SOUR, GUMMY, AND STICKY CANDY
Gummy bears, sour worms, and even dried fruit can be terrible for your teeth. Treats like this will stick to your enamel and find their way into the crevices of your teeth. Plus, the increased amount of sugar can significantly increase your risk of tooth decay.
2. POTATO CHIPS
This might be disappointing to hear, but potato chips are not a very tooth-safe snack. They are loaded with starch, which breaks down to sugar. As we know, sugar can wear off enamel and cause decay that may lead to issues, like cavities.
3. CITRUS FOODS AND DRINKS
Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and their juices can be delicious, but you’ll suffer the dental consequences later. Like sugar, acid can erode enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and discoloration from dentin exposure. The tricky part is, these foods and drinks are often full of beneficial vitamin C, so try limiting your intake rather than cutting them out completely. And be conscious of labels when choosing your juice. Look for juices that are all natural, no sugar added, and never made from concentrate. That will ensure you’re getting the most out of your beverage choice.
Technically, ice isn’t a food and water is actually really beneficial for your dental health, but ice deserves a spot on this list, anyway. Firstly, drinks that are too cold might cause discomfort, as they can shock your gums or cause sensitivity. However, chewing ice is much more harmful to your tooth enamel. While it can be a refreshing way to cool off during hot summer months, you run the risk of chipping, cracking, loosening, or dislodging a tooth or a crown.
It’s true, alcohol is not only bad for your liver, but it can have adverse effects on your teeth and gums, as well. The yeast in beer, for example, will turn into enamel-eroding sugar while spirits can dry out your mouth. Saliva is essential to keeping harmful bacteria at bay and dislodging leftover food particles.
As you might have guessed, food and drinks that contain starch and yeast aren’t the best for your teeth. Ultimately, the real culprit is sugar, but since bread turns into sugar as you break it down in your mouth, it helps to pass on the bread basket at dinner.
7. CARBONATED DRINKS
Soda is often one of the first things to go whenever trying a new diet or reducing excess sugar in your everyday meal plan. Also, don’t be fooled by sodas marketed as “diet” or “zero calories,” as they can still contain harmful sugars or sugar-replacements that might be better on your dress size, but not your teeth and gums. Avoid sugary sodas and similarly carbonated drinks and drink water instead to help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
Hey, even we enjoy a good cup of joe in the morning, but it’s important to remember that caffeine is not the best for your teeth. Not only can coffee stain your enamel over time, which could mean pricey whitening services or veneers down the time, but coffee is also a diuretic, which could lead to dry mouth and dehydration. Try replacing your second or third cup with green tea, to help reduce your risk of discoloration.
DENTIST-APPROVED TIPS FOR ENJOYING YOUR FAVORITE FORBIDDEN TREAT
Of course, we all have cravings, and it’s okay to reward yourself now and then! If you do want to enjoy some of these foods, here are some tips to help minimize your risk of tooth troubles:
- Drink water after a sweet treat. This can help to wash away leftover residue and loosen any sugar that might have stuck to your teeth.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating something sugary. You might feel guilty and want to fix it by brushing immediately, but believe it or not, that might make it worse. Sugar can wear down the enamel, and brushing right away can actually wear away more of it, so wait a few hours and brush before bed!
- Eat sweets with dinner, not as standalone snacks. Chewing produces saliva, and as we’ve mentioned, saliva can be beneficial to making sure harmful bacteria doesn’t stick around after eating. If you want to indulge in some candy, do it for dessert—after you’ve already eaten. This will help keep any sugars from sticking to hard-to-reach areas.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Instead of brushing right after enjoying a potential risky treat, pop a piece of sugar-free gum. This helps to promote saliva, dislodge any pesky bacteria, and will keep your breath smelling fresh!
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR DIET—OR YOUR DENTAL VISIT
The foods you eat and the dental care you receive are equally important in maintaining optimal oral health in both children and adults. Children, especially, are prone to sweet treats and unhealthy snacks. Thankfully, you can find plenty of recipes that can satisfy your sweet tooth without putting you or your kids at risk of periodontitis or gum disease.
At Bela Family Dentistry of White Knoll, we offer a new experience in family dental care, providing a wide range of comprehensive services to help prevent and restore your dental health.