Your diet can have a bigger impact on your smile than you realize. Acidic food, sugary food, starchy food, and sticky food can all cause damage to the teeth, especially when consumed frequently. While it’s okay to enjoy the occasional “bad” treat, overindulgence can trigger an inflammatory response in the mouth that contributes to the breakdown of the bone, gums, and supporting structures of the teeth.
To maintain good oral health, review your diet and consider eliminating some of these harmful foods for teeth.
1. Soft Drinks
Soda is one of the biggest culprits of tooth decay. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one-third of people consume at least one high-sugar soft drink or other sweetened beverage daily. Not only are they loaded with sugar, but they also contain citric and phosphoric acids that wear down tooth enamel. A healthier alternative to soda is natural flavoring. Add slices of lemon, orange, watermelon, or other fresh fruits and veggies to a glass of ice-cold water.
2. Hard Candies
Many people pop a hard candy into their mouth without much thought. While a small, hard candy may seem harmless, constant exposure to sugar while the candy is in your mouth can be harmful to your teeth. Most hard candies contain large amounts of sugar that can contribute to tooth decay. In addition, biting down on hard candy can result in a dental emergency, such as a chipped or broken tooth. As an alternative, consider chewing sugarless gum with the ADA seal.
3. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits like raisins and dried apricots are commonly mistaken as nutritious snacks. However, as dried fruits are highly concentrated due to the drying process, they typically contain large amounts of sugar. The chewy texture of dried fruits can also be harmful as they stick to teeth, allowing bacteria to prolong acid production. Instead of eating dried fruits, stick to fresh or frozen fruit.
4. Starchy Foods
Starchy foods include things like potato chips, white bread, pasta, and french fries. Eating starchy foods can be harmful to the teeth as they become easily lodged in tiny nooks and crevices. They are also converted to sugar almost immediately which can be harsh on teeth, especially if you don’t brush soon after eating. Aim for healthier alternatives to your favorite starchy foods, such as spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice, and lettuce wraps.
5. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit may deliver essential vitamins and minerals but should be consumed in moderation. Frequent exposure to acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay. The juices in citrus fruits can also irritate mouth sores. Whenever possible, drink plain water as a healthier alternative to citrus juice.
Alcohol consumption can lead to dry mouth and dehydration. People who consume alcohol excessively may experience a reduction in saliva flow over time, which can lead to cavities and oral infections like gum disease. Heavy consumption of alcohol can also increase a person’s risk of developing mouth cancer. Some healthier alternatives to alcohol include kombucha, alcohol-free sparkling wine, mocktails, and alcohol-free beer.
Popcorn is considered a healthy alternative to chips as it is a good source of fiber and polyphenols. However, popcorn can pose certain risks to your teeth. Popcorn can easily become lodged between the teeth. Biting down on kernels could crack or break a tooth. When eating popcorn, make sure to take sips of water frequently to rinse the mouth.
Schedule an Appointment
Better dental health and wellness begins with a good diet. Eating a healthy, nutritious diet while avoiding harmful foods is a great step towards achieving a beautiful smile. In addition to eating healthy, it’s important to undergo routine exams and cleanings with a qualified dentist. Largo FL is home to many experienced dentists, including Bonham Dental Arts. Contact Bonham Dental Arts today to schedule your next appointment.