Teeth are one of the strongest parts of our bodies. The enamel, which covers teeth, is made of minerals, thus providing protection for your teeth. However, the weakest link for our teeth is their inability to repair themselves, making them susceptible to damage. Once your teeth are damaged, you have to visit the dentist for an extraction, filling, or replacement. The Downey Dentist is your dental care companion and providing dental services as well as care tips for your teeth, including the common foods that are bad for your teeth.
You Are What You Eat
The food you consume dictates the health and beauty of your teeth. Teeth are the first contact point for all the foods that you take – whether or not they require chewing. It is, therefore, essential to watch what goes into your mouth and to what you expose your teeth. The food you eat can damage your teeth if it sticks around the mouth long enough to be converted into sugar. When it is converted, it provides food for the bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria release acids that erode the teeth, causing decay and cavities.
Your diet plays a role in the strength of your teeth. You, therefore, have to choose nutrient-dense foods that will nourish your teeth and promote healthy growth. It would be best if you also watched out for foods that pose risks to the health of your teeth.
Below are some of the foods you should avoid for stronger and healthier teeth.
Popcorn is a favorite cinema snack for most Americans. Eating popcorn poses two dangers to your teeth.
First, the particles tend to stick between teeth and are easily converted into sugars, which provide food for bacteria. Chewing popcorn also produces lactic acid, which corrodes the enamel, exposing your teeth to decay and infection.
Second, cracking unpopped kernels causes teeth to crack. Once your teeth break, the interior becomes exposed and at risk of infection. The space between the cracks holds food particles that form plaque and hasten tooth decay.
To minimize the damage popcorn does to your teeth; carry a toothpick to dislodge particles from your teeth.
You should also carry water to wash off the acid and particles from your mouth. Avoid cracking un-popped kernels.
Hard candy such as peppermints and lollipops are bad for your teeth. Hard candy has much sugar, which stays longer on your teeth, causing damage. Also, it is hard on your teeth and likely to cause cracking. Regularly eating candy exposes your teeth to damage in the end as the bacteria have much sugar to consume.
If you have a sweet tooth, you should moderate your candy intact. You can also drink water after eating candy to flush out the sugar left behind. You can also take your candy alongside meals since the production of saliva helps to wash down the sugar quickly. The best care you can give your teeth is brushing and flossing as soon as possible after eating candy.
Perhaps you have heard of the link between soft drinks and diabetes and obesity. However, did you know that soft drinks, sugar-free or not, are damaging to your teeth?
Soft drinks contain high levels of sugar that feed the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria then release acids that corrode your teeth.
Soft drinks also have their acids, which corrode the teeth, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Soft drinks often extend to the interior of the tooth and can destroy fillings as well.
You can reduce your intake of soft drinks to minimize the damage to your teeth, and engage in good oral health practices. Alternatively, you can switch to fruit juices, which have a short-lived effect on the teeth.
Take your soft drink quickly. Slow sipping gives the acids and bacteria more time to damage your teeth. Drink soft drinks using a straw to keep it from reaching your teeth. Refrain from drinking soda before bedtime. The sugars in the soda will keep you awake for longer in addition to spoiling your teeth.
Alcohol taken in moderation is healthy. In excess, it causes damages to the internal organs and the tissues in the mouth. Alcohol dries up your mouth, providing room for bacteria to flourish. Saliva helps in removing bacteria and plaque from the teeth.
Beer is also acidic meaning it will corrode your teeth leading to cavities. Heavy drinkers have a higher risk of developing cavities. The dark barley and malts used in making alcoholic drinks are responsible for staining of the teeth.
Taking alcohol dramatically increases your risk of oral cancer. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention cites alcohol as the second leading cause of oral cancer. Heavy drinking also increases the chances of the total loss of teeth.
Pickles are made using vinegar. Vinegar contains acids that corrode the tooth enamel causing extensive damage to your teeth.
Chewing ice is damaging to your teeth. First, it can break your teeth, exposing them to cavities. Regular consumption of ice will also make your teeth sensitive to temperatures. Instead of chewing ice, you should let it melt in your mouth gradually. However, if you cannot break the habit, you need to talk to your dentist as you could be having an underlying condition such as iron deficiency anemia.
Corn on the cob
Eating corn on the cob is a favorite for many in summer. However, it exposes your teeth to the risk of cracking, mainly if it is the head. The corn can dislodge fillings exposing your tooth to germs and pain.
Dried fruits are a healthy snack but not for your teeth. Dried fruits have all the water removed and are therefore full of concentrated sugar. The sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn weakens your teeth. Dry sticky fruits such as raisins are worse because they tend to linger on your teeth causing further damage.
Refined carbohydrates are highly processed and have a high quantity of sugars. These sugars are easily converted in the mouth, causing acidity. Refined wheat products are the most common, and the main culprits for tooth decay. Refined carbohydrates result in decalcification of teeth (loss of calcium) which is the primary building component of the enamel.
Consuming many refined carbohydrates also increases the risk of developing gingivitis, a condition characterized by the inflammation of the jaw.
How to protect your teeth from acid erosion
From time to time, you may find yourself taking foods that are bad for your teeth. In such cases, you need to care for your teeth to prevent and minimize damage. The most common culprits that cause acid erosion include fruit juices, alcoholic drinks, citrus fruits, candy, and sugar.
Sensitivity, cracks, cupping, discoloration, rounded teeth, and transparent teeth are some of the common signs of erosion.
Preventing the damage is possible by:
- Combining acidic snacks, fruits, or drinks with meals. This will neutralize the acids and reduce contact with the teeth.
- Drink water after or when eating acidic foods as it will neutralize the acids and protect your teeth. Drinking water after eating the acidic foods will wash down the acids leaving your mouth free of harmful bacteria
- Use a straw when drinking acidic beverages and drink them quickly
- Wait before your brush – when you take an acidic food and immediately brush your teeth; you are increasing the damage to the teeth. When brushing, you will rub the acid onto the teeth, forcing it to corrode them more. Instead, brush after thirty minutes.
- Meanwhile, you can rinse your mouth with tap water (bottled water is acidic)
- Opt for whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates. Whole grains are rich in fiber, which cleans up the teeth. Whole grains are digested slowly, which means the concentration of sugar in the mouth is low.
What Can I Eat?
Healthy choices are essential for your periodontal health. These healthy choices are not expensive, nor do they require drastic changes in your life. You can take small steps as you form new dental care habits. Some of the foods you can include in your diet include:
- Dairy products as they contain calcium – a component important in the development of healthy teeth
- Foods rich in fiber such as vegetables are ideal for “cleaning” your teeth as they require much chewing
- Strawberries as they contain malic acid, which naturally whitens your teeth.
Find a Dentist Near Me
Your oral health is not just about brushing teeth. It begins with your diet and eating habits. It means that you have to understand how your teeth work and the dangers that they face. Our dentists at The Downey Dentist will provide you with advice on the best oral care practices to protect your teeth and jaw. We will also offer dental care services to correct the effects of food on your teeth. Contact us at 562-746-0350 for your dental healthcare concerns.