Many foods and beverages we consume are not good for our oral health. These foods can stain your teeth and lead to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Listed below are some of the worst foods for oral health.
- Sugary Foods
If you consume too much sugar, you are increasing your risk of a number of oral diseases, including tooth decay and gum disease. That’s because the bacteria that cause cavities feed on sugars, so the more you eat, the more plaque you produce. Plaque causes enamel to erode, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Cavities also cause your gums to become inflamed and bleed. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss.
- Hard Candy
When you chew on hard candy, you can damage tooth enamel and cause small holes to form. The acid in certain types of chewy candies can also erode the protective surface of teeth. Over time, this can cause tooth decay and lead to cavities. Unlike chocolate, caramels, and other sticky sweets, hard candies aren’t washed away by saliva. This allows them to stay on the teeth for a longer period of time. And when that sugar sits on the teeth for a long time, it can lead to even more damage.
Hard candies also cause the mouth to become dry. A dry mouth is one of the primary causes of bad breath. So not only can it lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, but it can also cause embarrassing breath issues as well. If you do eat any hard candy, make sure to drink plenty of water to wash away the sugars. Brushing your teeth after eating a sweet is also a good idea.
- Coffee and Tea
Drinking coffee and tea in moderation is safe for your teeth. Some studies suggest that caffeine in coffee may protect against oral cancer. However, if you drink excessive amounts of coffee and black tea, it may cause tooth staining and lead to increased plaque buildup. Both drinks are also acidic and can erode your tooth enamel over time. To help protect your teeth, try drinking these beverages with a straw. Using a straw will keep most of the liquid away from your teeth and out of the beverage itself. Also, refrain from brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after consuming either of these beverages. The abrasiveness of your toothbrush will scrape off softened teeth enamel.
Alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your oral health for a number of reasons. The alcohol in wine can dry out your mouth, which can lead to tooth decay. This is especially problematic because many people consume their wine with foods that are high in sugar or starch, which can also contribute to decay. In addition, red wine also contains tannins that stain your teeth. If consumed regularly, these stains can become severe and difficult to remove.
If you do indulge in a glass of wine, be sure to rinse with water immediately afterward to wash away the sugars and acids in the mouth that were left behind by the wine. Another tip is to drink your wine with a straw to reduce the amount of time the beverage spends on your teeth.
- Sports Drinks
Some sports drinks advertise themselves as “tooth-friendly”; however, this is only true in very limited circumstances. Sports drinks are acidic in nature. If you drink a sports drink when your teeth are mildly sensitive, or you have a small cavity, the acidity in the drink can actually cause more erosion to your tooth enamel.
For healthy teeth and gums, we recommend drinking water or other sugar-free beverages instead. If you do partake in sports drinks and notice some sensitivity as a result, avoid drinking any more of the beverage until your teeth return to normal. If symptoms persist for more than a day, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
- Citrus Fruits and Juices
Citrus fruits and juices are particularly bad for your oral health due to their high acid content. The high acidity of citrus fruits can damage the enamel that protects your teeth. The acid can also soften the tooth structure over time by eroding the minerals in the tooth. Over time, this erosion can become severe and lead to cavities as the bacteria in the mouth break down the sugars that are left behind after eating or drinking citrusy foods and drinks.
Of course, the other issue with citrus fruits and juice is that the sugars in them cause tooth decay as well. So while some acidic foods are not as bad as others, it’s important to limit your intake of all acidic foods for the sake of your overall oral health.
- Dried Fruits
Dried fruit is a great source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and even some dietary fiber. Unfortunately, the drying process strips away most of the nutrients and water in the vegetables and fruits. This makes dried fruit high in sugar and leads to a higher acid level in the mouth, which can erode tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities. If you do eat dried fruits, it is best to eat them with other foods and drink plenty of water to wash away some of the sugars. It is also best to eat organic or minimally processed dried fruits so you can control their sugar content.
Schedule an appointment with Foxfield Dental to learn more about good oral health. Visit us at 16350 E Arapahoe Rd Unit #114, Foxfield, CO 80016. Contact us at (720) 870-0401 or visit our website to book an appointment.