Top 9 Foods That Are Bad For Your Teeth
You may have encountered the phrase, ‘Food for health’. While we all acknowledge the benefits of specific foods and the drawbacks of some others on our body, we fail to recognize that what we eat can also affect the first thing they come in contact with, in our body- our teeth. The social media fad doesn’t plan on dying down any time soon, so while it stays we are plagued with the obsession for better smiles. Whiter, more even, brighter, less gummy, and spotless are some of our favorite words to be able to describe our teeth. But did you know that eating the wrong kinds of foods can actually take these qualities away from your smile?
With lots of homestays and family time on our hands, we are surrounded by lots and lots of food that may be comforting, nostalgic, or downright delicious! However, not everything you put in your system is beneficial to your brilliant gnashers. Here are nine of the worst foods (as per the American Dental Association) to indulge in if you plan on keeping your pearly whites as they are. Warning! Some of your favorite foods might be on this list!
- Lemons or oranges? Neither!
A glass of lemon water is a great way to kickstart a day as it offers a boost of energy and can even help you lose those extra calories. Orange slices to brighten a fruit platter, a pitcher of chilled lemonade on a hot summer afternoon, or the tanginess of a squeeze of lime on tacos, we have all enjoyed citrus fruits in countless different ways. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and help the body restore its pH balance. Although sour and acidic foods like such are great for our bodies in many ways, they also do more harm than good for our teeth.
The tooth is protected by an outer covering of enamel. Frequent exposures to acidic foods can erode the enamel and make the teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and sensitivity. You should always brush your teeth after you have had a meal that involved a citrus fruit to cleanse the teeth surfaces of prolonged acid exposure. You can even try floating a few lemon slices in your water instead of squeezing it in.
- Sticky and hard candies hurt your teeth
Candies tend to linger in your mouth for longer periods of time before they ultimately dissolve even after you have been chewing endlessly for minutes. It’s no surprise that candies and lollies contain excessively high levels of sugar, which is exactly why it is on this ‘bad foods’ list! Constant exposure to sugar can result in ample deposition of these sticky foods on your teeth surfaces, thus endangering your dental health.
In addition to being extraordinarily full of sugar, they can also pose a risk of tooth chipping! Now, who enjoys a dental emergency? A better alternative would be to chew sugarless gum that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance or better yet, dark chocolate! Since the goal here is to avoid artificial sweeteners in fear of cavities, homemade granola bars with natural sweeteners such as honey are another great alternative. Remember to brush immediately afterward.
- Things can crunch!
Who doesn’t love a satisfying crunch? While potato chips or crackers do not make it on the healthy foods list, most people do not realize the health hazards they could spawn. The core component of chips and crackers is starch- and lots of it. Starchy foods have a tendency to get stuck in between your teeth and maybe suspended in your mouth for hours on end. The starch in these snacks are quickly broken down into sugar, and we all know what happens here on. Tooth decay, gum disease, unhealthy teeth- the whole shebang.
Instead, you can opt for sugar-free popcorn or kale chips that can emulate the satisfaction of the crunch factor. Get cozy with brushing and flossing soon after your munchies.
- Off with sodas and pops
Sodas are not a healthy beverage. They are filled to the brim with sugar and are essentially sugar in a cup. Needless to say, they are horrible for your teeth. As per the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), if you sip on sodas or carbonated drinks that are acidic constantly throughout the day, you are risking changing the pH of the mouth to make it more vulnerable to tooth decay and plaque accumulation. This is called “soda mouth”.
Drinking water along with every glass of your favorite cola can help lower much of the dental damage it is capable of. Swish around some water in your mouth after every soda cup.
- Dried fruits and bad teeth
Though rich in vitamins, dried fruits like raisins and prunes are sticky foods that only get stuck in the tiny spaces in between your teeth. If you regularly relish in dry fruits, chances are a lot of the particles are getting stuck in your teeth.
Turn your focus on eating fresh fruits like apples instead of dry fruits. If you do snack on some dried fruits, remember to floss your teeth. Flossing is key!
- Stay away from energy drinks
Energy drinks may sound healthy but the top ingredient that makes most of these is sugar. The American Academy of Pediatrics interestingly notes that sports drinks can be helpful for young, vigorous athletes but unnecessary in most cases. Energy drinks are not only packed with refined sugar but also contain acidic ingredients that do not work in favor of your teeth.
Avoid taking energy drinks for sports. Water is the best option to balance your body’s electrolytes and keep you hydrated.
- Liquor-free weekends!
A few swigs of beer on some weekends might not be all that bad but if you are repeatedly drinking alcohol, it can lead to disastrous outcomes for your teeth. Alcohol causes dehydration, leading to a lowered production of saliva in the mouth. This drying-out of the mouth can result in rampant dental caries and other oral infections like gum disease. ADA also notes that heavy alcohol use increases your risk of mouth cancer.
Drink water alongside alcohol to prevent maximum damage to your teeth. You may also consider switching to a glass of microbiome-boosting red wine and completely avoiding sugary cocktails. That glass of strawberry daiquiri will have to go!
- Ice is not for chewing
Ice does not contain any sugars or starch, it is essentially just water. How can it be bad for your teeth? You will be surprised to know that biting on hard ice can actually weaken your teeth. Although the tooth enamel is a strong tissue, prolonged biting of ice can cause cracks and chips on teeth that have already been weakened by a high intake of sugar and starch.
Break free of that habit and help save your teeth. Brownie points for you if you start drinking more water to stay hydrated, or stick some cubes of ice in a refreshing drink.
- Limit your tea and coffee intake
It is no surprise that drinking excessive coffee can stain your teeth. Tea and coffee are harmful to your teeth as it is, but if you have a sweet tooth and like your beverages sweet, you may find yourself in a bit of a rut. What’s more, much like alcohol, coffee, and tea can dry out the mouth by inhibiting the production of healthy saliva.
Switch to green tea or herbal teas to keep your teeth trauma to a minimum. If you refuse to give up coffee, make sure you drink lots of water along with it to keep your body hydrated and your teeth clean. Serve it without added sugar as much as possible!
Choose wisely what you eat with 4Smile.