Tooth decay can affect anyone and results from plaque with bacteria feeding on the sugars in your diet, causing cavities. Cavities are due to the bacteria eating the sugar and turning it into an acid dissolving your tooth’s enamel. Foods high in sugar contribute to plaque and tooth decay. Here are the foods to avoid or limit to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.
Foods to Avoid for Your Teeth
Sticky and sugary foods will be bad for your teeth. Sticky foods stick on your teeth longer, giving bacteria a chance to damage your teeth. Acidic foods may also be a poor choice, as acid potentially damages tooth enamel.
To help prevent cavities from forming, we recommend you brush your teeth, floss and rinse your mouth after consuming the following foods:
Refined carbs typically include foods such as white bread, crackers, chips or french fries. These simple carbs break down into sugar, mix in with the mouth bacteria, ferment, creating lactic acid, eroding tooth enamel.
White bread products are the worst culprits, sticking to teeth easily, giving the bacteria more time to create acid.
Pickled foods use vinegar containing acid, which can cause staining and erosion of your tooth enamel. In addition, many pickled foods contain sugar contributing to cavities.
Hard and Chewy Candy
Chewy candy is the top food people should avoid. They stick between your teeth and are hard to remove. Hard candy is not a substitute as it releases sugars into your mouth for a long time and biting down at the wrong angle before it’s dissolved can chip, break, or crack in your tooth.
Alcohol dries out your mouth, reducing the amount of saliva which rinses problem particles away, resulting in gum disease and tooth decay. Wines can easily stain teeth with its tannins.
Citrus Fruits and Dried Fruits
Citrus fruit should be eaten in moderation, as even lemon in your water will introduce citric acid to your teeth. Rinse your mouth with plain water first, waiting for at least a half-hour until you brush. If drinking juices, try using a straw so most of the acid bypasses your teeth.
Stick to fresh fruit as the drying process concentrates sugar resulting in a chewy, sticky consistency similar to chewy candies.
Raisins, dried apricots or fruit roll-ups are believed to be wholesome, nutritious snacks, but the sugars in these fruits are highly concentrated due to being dehydrated. Their chewy texture sticks to teeth, giving the bacteria extra time to cause damage.
Ice is not for chewing. Though made of water and doesn’t contain sugar, chewing on ice or other hard substances leaves your teeth susceptible to a dental emergency such as a cracked tooth.
While coffee, tea or soft drinks are okay in moderation or drunk plain, many people drink them with sugars and syrups. Consuming them regularly causes discoloured teeth over time, tinting your smile a lovely shade of brown. If sweetened, coffee and tea make teeth sticky, meaning more food particles can hitch a ride.
Syrupy beverages such as sodas/sports drinks are especially bad for teeth when sipping for extended periods of time. Also, avoid diet sodas, as even though they lack sugar does not mean they lack acidity.
If you partake, try to avoid the syrups and add-ons and drink plenty of good old-fashioned water.
Sports and energy drinks are not a healthier alternative to soda because they have as much — or even more — sugar. Many sports drinks, flavoured with citric acid, increase the likelihood of tooth decay.
Try to stick to unsweetened tea or water as a replacement. If you have a soft drink, avoid brushing your teeth immediately, as the acid softens your tooth enamel, making them more vulnerable to abrasion.
Popcorn, notoriously gets stuck in your teeth. Unpopped kernels can also cause problems if you accidentally bite down on one.
Foods Supporting Oral Health
As teeth allow us to eat food effectively, let’s chat about foods that won’t harm your teeth. Here are a few:
- Leafy greens
- Fish, Lean Meat
All foods cause a little bit of tooth wear. However, these foods contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that combat tooth decay. Foods high in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, and phosphorus will help keep your smile happy.
Keep your smile bright and healthy. Visit Kesteven Dental Care @ www.kestevendentalcare.com or call us at 604-826-8087! Not only can we schedule you for regular dental cleanings, but we can also recommend what foods to enjoy for your healthy smile!
By Lorelei Kesteven