Our teeth work very hard for us, and we often take their ability to chew food for granted. However, eating the wrong foods can cause your teeth to suffer. The foods you choose can have a significant impact on your oral health.
White sugar is one of the worst things you can eat for your oral health. Not only is sugar bad for your overall health, but it can create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria love the sugar you consume and then eat away at your teeth and gums. This can lead to cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer.
The best thing you can do for your health is to cut back on sugary foods and drinks. If you can’t eliminate them completely, try to limit yourself to no more than one serving per day. Some healthier alternatives are fresh fruits and fruit juices. If you do choose the juice option, make sure it’s 100% pure with no added sugar. This is also true with dairy products like milk and cheese. Try to opt for fat-free or low-fat versions of these as well.
The sugar in hard candies can be extremely harmful to your teeth. Sweetness is the primary cause of cavities. In fact, eating an entire bag of Jolly Ranchers can increase your risk of tooth decay by a whopping 37%! When you eat hard candy, the sugar coats the teeth. As it melts, it sticks to your mouth and teeth. The longer it stays there, the more bacteria production occurs and the more time the acid has to break down your tooth enamel until a hole forms. Additionally, if you bite down on a piece of candy, you are also at risk of chipping or breaking a tooth. If the tooth has a crack in it, you run the risk of infection setting in as well.
Hard candies are also very sticky and chewy – once a piece gets stuck between your teeth, it is very hard to remove. This increases the risk of plaque buildup as well as irritation and inflammation of the gums. If you insist on having a piece of candy, it is best to look for sugar-free varieties and try to brush after you eat or chew gum to help remove any leftover residue.
Sugary beverages are one of the biggest culprits of tooth decay. The acid and sugar in these drinks eat away at the enamel of the teeth, creating cavities over time. Soda and other carbonated beverages are also very acidic in nature, meaning they can break down tooth enamel. If you must drink soda, use a straw to keep the sugar and acids away from your teeth.
Fruit juices are healthier alternatives to soft drinks. However, they also contain a lot of sugar that can feed decay-causing oral bacteria. If you do enjoy fruit juices, try to drink them through a straw to limit their contact with your teeth and gums.
Coffee and Tea
Drinking tea is also generally safe for the teeth, but be careful if you use cream or milk in your tea. These products can be harmful to the enamel and even cause discoloration on your teeth. You should also avoid eating cookies, cakes, muffins, or other sweets while you are drinking tea. The combination of the two can cause staining to occur.
Finally, coffee tends to be a more acidic beverage than tea, so try to avoid drinking too much of it. Similarly to wine, coffee can dry out your mouth. Saliva acts as a buffer for your oral cavity, protecting the teeth from the effects of acidity. When you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth, you are more likely to get cavities. Ideally, you should wait about 30 minutes after drinking coffee before brushing your teeth. This way, you won’t damage your tooth enamel while cleaning off the acids.
Alcoholic beverages can be extremely damaging to your oral health. Many alcoholic beverages contain high amounts of sugar, which feeds the bacteria that cause cavities. In addition, alcohol has acidic properties that can erode enamel and make teeth more vulnerable to decay.
Many people drink wine or beer with dinner as a way to complement their meal. Sipping on a glass of wine or beer with a meal is not terribly bad for you, but it’s important not to overdo it. If you’re drinking multiple glasses of wine with your meal, you could be doing yourself more harm than you realize. In addition to causing damage to your smile, excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to serious health problems like liver damage and heart disease.
If you do enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer, try to do so at mealtime rather than throughout the day. Limiting your intake of alcohol to one or two servings a day will help reduce your risk of oral health issues.
When consuming red wine, be sure to use a straw, so the wine doesn’t come into contact with your teeth. This will help reduce the sugars and acids that contact your teeth.
Dried fruits are just dehydrated fruits that have been picked at the peak of ripeness and sweetened with sugar or corn syrup. They are full of natural sugars like fructose and sucrose that convert to acid in the mouth and are dangerous for your oral health. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, dried fruits like raisins can be as bad for your teeth as candy! That’s because the bacteria in your mouth love to feed on the sugar in dried fruits. Not only does it feed the bad bacteria that cause cavities, but the sugar also feeds the harmful bacteria that cause gum disease. “Saliva is very important to oral health because it washes away food particles and neutralizes acids produced by plaque bacteria, and it also helps repair early tooth decay lesions.” Eat your dried fruits in reasonable amounts only, and rinse your mouth with water after eating them to remove the harmful sugar and acid left on your teeth. The rinsing will also help wash away any lingering debris in the crevices of your molars to help keep them from decaying.
5734 W 13400 S
Herriman, UT, 84096
Silver Summit Dental
5734 W 13400 S
Tel: (801) 542-0998
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