Taking care of your teeth is a life-long endeavor that is well worth your time. Beyond the typical lecture, you probably got from your parents about sugar rotting your teeth, other foods that can cause some significant damage to your teeth. Here’s a few:
- Sticky Foods: The sticky food list doesn’t just contain chewy candies like Hot Tamales or Gummy Bears. You also need to watch out for dried fruit. Dried fruit often contain significant amounts of added sugar, and since they are sticky, they tend to hang out on your teeth longer keeping that sugar around. If you enjoy dried fruits like most of us, just make a point to floss carefully after eating some and rinse your mouth out with water.
- Soda: No real surprises here. There are a few culprits in carbonated drinks, even diets ones. They are almost all high in acid, which can erode enamel. Sugary sodas sipped over an extended period lead to plaque bacteria, and finally, the caffeinated sodas can result in dry mouth (see alcohol below).
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can dry out your mouth, and excessive dry mouth can lead to some very unhealthy teeth. Saliva helps your mouth in various ways including keeping food particles from sticking to your mouth and even repairing smaller, early signs of gum disease or tooth decay.
- Ice: On a hot summer day, it might seem refreshing to chew on some ice, but it has the potential to chip, crack or even break your teeth. If you have crowns, it even possible to loosen them by chewing on hard substances like ice. So enjoy it in your beverage and leave it there!
- Sour Candy: Did you know that sour candies especially contain not only more but also different kinds of acids that are more damaging to your teeth? Like dried fruit, the chewiness can stick to your teeth and stay there until you brush next, meaning that the acids and sugar remain on your teeth longer than they should.
- Bread: If you’ve ever eaten bread, especially white bread, you’re probably familiar with the embarrassing gummy paste-like substance that gets between your teeth after lunch. That’s your saliva breaking the starches in the bread into sugar. Obviously, sugars are bad for your teeth and also for your body.
- Citrus: The acid in fruit like lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits can make your teeth more vulnerable to decay by eroding enamel. If you want to have some lemon water with dinner, enjoy it, just remember to rinse afterward.
- Coffee: You knew this one was going to end up on the list, didn’t you? Drinking too much coffee will end up staining your teeth, and if you add too much sugar or sugary elements (mocha, syrups, etc.), you are back to the problem of the sugar contributing to decaying teeth.
While life may be full of choices, the ones to protect your teeth will serve you well throughout your life. It’s worth having even some of your favorite foods in moderation to protect your pearly whites. The health of your teeth affects most areas of your overall health, and if you are interested in learning more about how, contact your local, integrative health dentist.