When it comes to your teeth, it’s important to take steps to keep them healthy. That includes watching what you eat. Foods that are high in sugar or acid can really harm your teeth if you are not careful.
Acidic foods can damage your tooth’s enamel. The enamel is the protective, outer coating of your teeth and helps protect your tooth from infection and cavities. Sugar also harms your enamel but in a less direct way. Bacteria collects on your teeth as plaque and eats sugar as it enters your mouth. It then produces an acid that damages your teeth in the same way acidic foods can.
- Candy and sugared snacks: This item should go without saying, but it remains a major problem. Anything that contains as much sugar as candy is going to give the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth plenty to eat. And sour candies are a one-two punch with teeth damaging acid also present. Purchase sugarfree gum to avoid the sugar while still getting the sweet.
- Alcohol: The effects of alcohol on dental health can be threefold. Alcohol can reduce your saliva and dry out your mouth, making it easier for bacteria to flourish. This can increase your chances of tooth decay and infections. And certain drinks contain varying levels of sugar as well as acid depending on the drink and process to make it.
- Soft Drinks and Fruit Juice: While soft drinks may not be a surprise, fruit juice can be. Even 100% fruit juice, while high in certain vitamins, still contains sugar. Plus, soft drinks and certain citrus drinks contain acid that can harm your teeth. It’s better to drink water and eat your fruit rather than drink it.
- Bread: Bread and other simple carbohydrates produce a lot of sugar in your mouth when they are broken down by saliva. Avoid foods like white bread, french fries, and crackers and replace them with complex carbohydrates like 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, and vegetables.
- Dehydrated fruits: Because dried fruits are chewy, the natural sugar can get stuck throughout your teeth. This gives the sugar plenty of time to wreak havoc on your enamel. If you eat dried fruit, be sure to swish your mouth out with water afterward.
- Citrus: Oranges, limes, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits contain acid that can harm your enamel. And some citrus foods, like lemonade, is high in acid as well as sugar. Avoid adding a splash of lemon to your water and drink it plain.
- Crunchy Foods: Anything that crunches can do damage to your teeth in the form of cracking, chipping, breaking, or wearing away enamel. Hard candy, popcorn kernels, and ice are the usual suspects here.
Eating the right foods or limiting the harmful foods can really help maintain and even improve your dental health. After any meal, especially ones high in sugar or acid, remember that moderation is the key. When eating these foods, swishing your mouth out afterward have proven to be beneficial.
You should also brush your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once. Visiting your dentist every six months is highly recommended. Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you, so keep it bright and healthy by eating right.