Everyone enjoys eating a good meal, and a lot of snacks and desserts, too. While it is easy to focus on the enjoyment of eating and the variety of tastes in your food, the focus needs to be in a different place – how it will affect your teeth. In fact, some foods will kill your teeth with faster tooth decay.
Many foods that you likely enjoy every day are hurting your teeth. Some of them may surprise you.
Carbonated Soft Drinks
Sodas are one of the worst foods for your teeth. The well-known reason is all the sugar that is in a single can. Sodas often contain as much as nine teaspoons of sugar in each can. They are the largest source of sugar for children and teens.
This much sugar is a problem all by itself, but people of all ages often drink it with a lot of other carbs and fast food. Sugary foods and sugar are bad for teeth because it feeds the bacteria in your mouth that produces acid. Leaving the sugar on your teeth will certainly cause them to decay faster. Each time you eat or drink soda and other sugary foods, the bacteria will produce acid for the next 20 minutes. This will happen with each sip you take.
A second problem with sodas is that they also contain their own acid. This is usually phosphoric acid, but some diet sodas also have a different kind – citric acid. This acid is in addition to that which the bacteria produce, which means it will help speed up the decay process. When you consider that water has a pH level of 7 and battery acid is 1, sodas range between a pH level of 3.4 and 2.5. Tooth erosion begins at a pH level of 5.5. Fruit drinks are also among the acidic drinks you want to limit because they also contain about as much sugar and acid as sodas.
Foods that are sticky, such as taffy, gum drops, dried fruit, and many more, will harm your teeth because it will stick to your teeth and is not as easily removed. With other types of food, you can swallow most of it and it will not stick so long between your teeth. Sticky foods mean that the bacteria that produce acid will remain on or between your teeth for longer periods of time. This will give you more damaged tooth enamel than with other types of food.
Chips and other similar snack foods can also be included in this group, along with many types of bread. They turn into sticky goo that will get stuck between your teeth. Popcorn also has hard kernels that can cut your gums.
Many types of food are hard, including some candy. Some people also like to chew on ice. These and similar types of foods can chip or crack your teeth. Ice lowers the temperature of your teeth which makes them more susceptible to cracking. When teeth become cracked into the root, it may need to be replaced, or it will take a root canal to repair it. Hard candies also have sugar in them.
Drinking alcohol is going to dry out your mouth. This can be a real problem because a dry mouth enables the harmful bacteria to multiply faster. This means more cavities in less time, and it also likely means gum disease. Your saliva is necessary to help remove harmful bacteria from your teeth and gums, and the nutrients in it are what strengthen your teeth. Other drinks and medications can also dry out your mouth. Staying hydrated will help you fight gum disease and enable you to keep your smile longer.
Citrus fruit and fruit drinks are among the worst drinks for your teeth and are similar to sodas because they contain both sugar and acid. Of course, vitamin C is good for you, along with the antioxidants and the other ingredients, but be aware that the acid can harm your teeth. If you like to suck on lemons, you need to find a different habit because lemons are more acidic than other fruit. Apples are also good for your teeth, but they contain acid, too. You can benefit from the vitamins and prevent a problem if you drink water and rinse your mouth out right after eating a citrus product.
This favorite drink of Americans has many healthy ingredients in it. The problem is more of what you put into your coffee than what is naturally in it. Buying specialty coffees that have a tremendous amount of sugar – or adding your own sugar – is what makes coffee bad for your teeth. If you sip coffee all day long with lots of sugar in it, you are damaging the enamel on your teeth and promoting gum disease. Drinking a lot of coffee or tea will also stain your teeth.
Eating right is important for the health of your teeth, but if your harmful habits have already damaged your teeth and gums, you can get help from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, MS, MBA, FDSRCS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He offers a wide range of dental services for all ages and can help protect your teeth and restore your smile. His offices in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Mockingbird/SMU and Grapevine, TX areas accept most dental health plans. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (469)-470-2546