10 Foods That Are Bad For Your Teeth
Tooth decay can affect anyone, regardless of what age you are. As we've discussed in previous articles, tooth decay is a result of having plaque and bacteria feed on the sugar in your diet, which can cause cavities. Cavities occur when bacteria eat the sugar, turning it into acid that dissolves your teeth's enamel.
Eating foods that are sticky and sugary will be bad for your teeth as they tend to stick to your teeth longer, allowing bacteria a greater chance to cause damage to your teeth. Acidic foods are known to wear away your tooth's enamel, which means foods or drinks that are sugary AND acidic can ultimately wreak havoc on your teeth.
The foods and beverages in our list below aren't necessarily bad for your health, but experts recommend brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth after consuming them to help prevent cavities from forming.
1. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, or fruit leathers are considered examples of wholesome, nutritious snacks that are better for your teeth than candy. The drying process, however, actually causes fruit to lose some of its nutritional value and makes the sugars become highly concentrated. Combine that with the chewy, sticky texture that can cling to your teeth; dried fruit is the perfect food to allow bacteria extra time to cause damage.
2. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruit is great for your diet but is definitely something that should be consumed in moderation. When you eat a lot of them, their citric acid can wear away at your tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to cavities. Lemon, limes, and grapefruit are especially highly acidic. It's always best to rinse your mouth with plain water after consuming acidic fruits and wait for at least half an hour before brushing.
3. Wine / Alcohol
Alcohol, in general, is known to cause your mouth to dry out, reducing the amount of saliva. Red and white wine specifically contain erosive acid, which will soften your enamel. Red wine, in particular, contains tannins, which are compounds that can also dry out your mouth and stain your teeth. Brushing your teeth before consuming wine can help reduce the amount of plaque that wine can stick to.
Over time, the dry mouth caused by alcohol can result in issues such as gum disease and tooth decay, as saliva is crucial for rinsing away problem particles.
4. Refined Carbs (Crackers, white bread, chips, french fries)
Foods such as crackers, white bread, chips, and french fries are known as refined carbohydrates, and unfortunately, numerous studies have shown a link between high refined card consumption to body inflammation. Inflammation is the main factor in various chronic diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis.
Another reason to avoid these foods is that they are simple carbs that break down into sugars. These sugars mix with the bacteria in your mouth, ferment, then create lactic acid, which is very effective at eroding enamel.
5. Soft Drinks
Unfortunately, all soft drinks are acidic, whether or not they have sugar. This means they can damage your teeth and lead to an increase in cavities and dental erosion. If you want to keep your teeth healthier, it's recommended you avoid soft drinks. If you do drink sodas, however, avoid brushing immediately after consuming as the acid softens your tooth enamel, making it more susceptible to abrasions from your toothbrush.
An essential part of the pickling process is vinegar, which contains acid. The acid can cause staining as well as erosion of your tooth enamel. Pickled foods also contain sugar, which, of course, is another contributor to cavities.
7. Sweets/ Candy
Many of us love eating sweets and candy, but it is no secret they are incredibly high in sugar.
If you really want to eat sweets, try to stick with ones that dissolve quickly. Cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweet treats that can cause tooth decay are best consumed directly after a meal rather than between meals, and it's crucial to brush your teeth after eating anything sweet to prevent the sugars from sticking around in your mouth for too long.
We've already discussed the negative implications of sticky, chewy sweets and how they can get stuck to your teeth and create a breeding ground for bacteria to feed, making soft, chewy candies one of the top foods people should avoid eating.
Hard candies that are left in the mouth for too long release sugar the entire time they're working to dissolve, making it more difficult for saliva to wash away the sugar. They can also be a dental emergency waiting to happen if you decide to try and bite into hard candy and risk cracking or breaking a tooth.
8. Coffee/ Tea
Coffee or tea might be a necessary part of many people's morning routine, but when consumed too frequently, they can not only discolor your teeth over time but they're also known to be loaded with sugar and syrups. It's best to drink them in moderation and plain, whenever possible.
Popcorn is a much healthier alternative to chips, but there are obvious reasons why it can be hard on your teeth. It is virtually impossible to eat popcorn without getting it stuck between your teeth. We also tend to snack on popcorn while watching a movie, which gives bacteria more time to damage your teeth.
Some people might think crunching down on a piece of ice is harmless, but it can cause quite a bit of damage to your teeth. Chewing on ice cubes actually wears down your enamel, leaving your teeth more vulnerable, and increasing the wear and tear on them. It can also cause the same issues as hard candy if you bit down at the wrong angle, causing chips, cracks, or breaks.
We cannot wait to meet you!
At 22nd @ Taylor Dental Care in Red Deer, we are passionate and driven to improve your physical health by treating your dentistry and oral hygiene needs. Dentistry for the whole family includes laser dentistry, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, sleep studies, sleep appliances, TMJ treatment, wisdom teeth removal, root canals, implants, Invisalign, and tongue ties. We are here to listen to your dental needs and provide you with options for your best dental health. We will show you the many links between the health of your mouth and your body. We have some incredible methods for making dentistry easy and comfortable. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for tips, updates, and dental education.
Give us a call to inquire – we’re happy to answer any questions you might have!