There are some tooth destroyers that are obvious: candy, pop, hard foods, and things like that are universally known to cause damage to your smile. You might not realize that there are a lot of other foods out there that are just as damaging, and you probably eat them all the time!
Today we want to talk about some of the problem foods out there and what makes them so bad for your teeth. That doesn’t mean you have to stop eating them entirely – just moderate your intake and be sure to practice good oral health habits and you should be able to have a healthy smile for years! Of course, regular cleanings and exams are part of a healthy mouth, so don’t forget those either. There are places in your mouth that are just hard to clean at home!
First, however, we should explain the causes of tooth decay and periodontal disease – the very things we’re here to prevent! You know that feeling you get in your mouth by the end of the day. That’s plaque. Plaque is the sticky, slick coating that gets on our teeth throughout the day. It contains countless bacteria which love to feed on sugars in our mouths, and when it eats it produces acids.
The acids produced by plaque bacteria ruin tooth enamel and lead to decay, cavities, and other oral health complications. The most tragic part is that it could have easily been prevented, which is why this list is so importat!
#1: Acidic Foods
What do you think of when you hear “acidic foods?” Citrus and tomatoes are obvious choices, but what about things you don’t realize are acidic? Pickles, salad dressings, most condiments, wine, and other foods like these are all ruining your teeth!
Just like the acids produced by plaque bacteria these acids ruin your enamel and skip the middleman to do so! Acids temporarily soften your enamel as well, so if you feel the need to brush after an acidic snack you should wait about half an hour.
#2: Starchy Snacks
Bread, crackers, chips, pretzels – we all love salty treats! The problem with these delicious foods is that they contain a lot of refined carbohydrates. Starchy foods made with white flour all contain lots of refined carbs, which are guilty of breaking down into sugar once they hit your mouth.
The sugar they break into? You guessed it – the perfect food for plaque bacteria! If you’re going to indulge in some of these foods be sure you are drinking plenty of water! Keeping your mouth wet is a sure-fire way to help get food particles out of your mouth!
#3: Dried Fruits
Fruit is good for you, right? Yes it is, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do bad things to your teeth! Doubly so when it’s dry fruit! Dried fruit is especially bad for your teeth because of the high concentration of sugar, lack of moisture, and high amounts of cellulose fiber. The cellulose helps the sugars in the fruit stick to your teeth, leading to quick acid production!
#4: Sports Drinks
Need to replenish after the game? Don’t reach for a sports drink – they’re packed with sugar and quite a bit of acid too! While there may be benefits to sports drinks they don’t outweigh the problems caused by the sweetness in them.
If you want to rehydrate the best way to do it is by going straight to the source: water.
#5: BONUS: Swimming pools
Even staying physically fit is ruining my teeth?! That’s what you might be thinking, but the culprit isn’t the activity, it’s the water! Pool water is so acidic that it can quickly eat away at your teeth if you’re in the pool regularly.
Our advice: keep swimming, but be sure to brush your teeth when you get out of the pool! All the chlorine, chemicals, and the acidic level of the water should be flushed out as quickly as possible!
Hopefully we didn’t scare you with all the possibilities for damaging your teeth. In our next post we’ll try to lighten the mood with some foods and habits that you may not realize are actually protecting your teeth!
If you have questions about your oral health or are concerned that you might be suffering from tooth decay or periodontal disease, don’t wait another day! Call our Duncansville dentist office at 814-693-6777 or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to helping you!
Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.
And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.