There are some foods that are really good for your teeth. The foods in this article are not those foods. What you eat can have a major impact on the health of your teeth and mouth, and these problematic foods contain compounds that contribute to tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health issues. Now, keep in mind, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t eat any of these foods ever. Some of them are actually pretty healthy for the rest of your body. Just make sure to moderate how much of these foods you eat so that the high quantities don’t damage your teeth and mouth. And always be sure to practice good oral hygiene, regardless of what you’re eating, to help fight back against plaque and tooth decay. Here are the five worst types of foods for your teeth.
1. Acidic Foods
While citrus fruits are usually high in Vitamin C and other nutrients, these and other acidic foods can eat away at your enamel and irritate your gums and your mouth, especially in high quantities. In other words, acidic foods like pickles, coffee, lemons, grapefruit, oranges, and strawberries can wear down your teeth, cause cavities and increase sensitivity, and may also discolor your teeth.
2. Sugary Foods
Decay-causing bacteria love sugar. These bacteria live in your mouth and feed on sugars, producing acid as a result. Acid, as in the stuff that wears down enamel, causes cavities and tooth decay, and all kinds of other dental and oral health problems. And not all sugary foods are as obvious as candy. Sugary foods can include fruits, jams, alcohol, soda, and cereals. Fruit juices can also contain high amounts of sugar and acids, so be careful with those, too.
3. Chewy Foods
Chewy foods tend to be high in sugar. As previously mentioned, sugar is hazardous to your teeth on its own. However, sticky, chewy foods are double trouble. These foods stick to your teeth and you continue chewing them for longer, meaning that the sugar stays in contact with your teeth for a very long time. Cue more decay-causing bacteria. Chewy foods – like taffy, caramel, and even dried fruit – create a feast for bacteria, allowing them to flourish and wreak havoc on your mouth.
4. Starchy Foods
Starchy foods include pasta, white bread, and potatoes, among other things. Unfortunately, starch is a refined carbohydrate, meaning that starchy foods break down into sugars almost immediately once they come into contact with saliva, making them one of those foods that cause cavities. Plus, these foods easily stick to and get caught between teeth, especially as they come into contact with the aforementioned enzymes. Make sure you eat these foods as part of meals, as the other foods you eat can potentially help prevent the starchy ones from sticking to your teeth.
5. Drying Foods
Salty and other foods that dry out your mouth can be pretty hazardous to your oral health. Saliva is your first defense against oral health issues, as it helps to wash away those sugars and bacteria that can cause problems. Drinks like alcohol, energy drinks, and coffee and heavily salted foods can dry out your mouth, taking away this defense. Make sure to drink plenty of water and perhaps chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to counteract this. If you have chronic dry mouth (also known as xerostomia), talk to your dentist and general practitioner, as this can be very problematic.
Balance Your Diet for Healthy Teeth and a Healthy Body
As we mentioned before, some of these foods are healthy for your body overall, even though they aren’t so great for your teeth. So, it is very important to balance your diet with your whole body in mind. Between a balanced diet, a good everyday oral health regimen, and regular dental exams and cleanings, your teeth will look great and your body will be healthy. Then, you’ll really have a reason to smile.
For more information about the different types of foods that are both good and bad for your teeth, or for any other oral health concerns, schedule an appointment with our experienced dental professionals by calling (770) 203-1711 or by contacting us online.