It is common knowledge that certain foods can really harm your teeth. However, not everyone knows which foods exactly are the problem. The sugar content and acidity of a food can really damage and erode the enamel on teeth. Enamel is important for the teeth because it protects teeth from the normal wear and tear of everyday use such as eating, drinking, etc. Enamel also protects teeth from temperature change. Once enamel is eroded, teeth become more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity, which can be uncomfortable. Tooth brushing and flossing can help fight the damage that these foods can cause, but there is no guarantee that there will not be damage. So what foods are the worst for your teeth?
The Worst Foods
Sugary foods are always some of the absolute worst foods for your teeth. It goes without saying that candy is one of the worst foods for your teeth, with the amount of sugar that goes into candy production. Hard candies are horrible for teeth because they linger in the mouth longer than most foods. Since you have to keep them in your mouth so that they dissolve, the sugar will stick to your teeth more easily and damage the enamel. This is due to the slow dissolve of the candy and in doing so, the bacteria in the mouth can feed off of the lingering sugar and produce acid that will harm teeth.Chewy candy can also harm teeth. Since chewy candy is sticky in nature, the sugar and pieces of the candy can stick to teeth for hours, also feeding the bacteria in the mouth.
Other chewy, sticky foods can be harmful to the mouth as well. For example, dried fruit has been said to be a great, healthy snack for those who are craving sugar. However, dried fruit is so sticky and high in sugar that it has the same effect on teeth as chewy candies.
Foods high in acid can also significantly wear down the enamel on teeth. Citrus fruits are a large part of a balanced diet, but eating too much of a good thing can harm your teeth. Many non-american cultures suck on lemons and limes throughout the day as a habit. This is incredibly bad for teeth because the citric acid in these fruits can really wear down the enamel.
The acid in the vinegar that is required for pickling foods can wear down enamel. Therefore, avoid eating too many pickled foods such as pickles, beets, garlic, etc.
Practicing good oral hygiene can help battle the effects that these foods can have on the teeth. Brushing your teeth a minimum of twice a day as well as flossing can help keep the sugars and acids at bay, but keeping an active knowledge of what foods are dangerous for oral health is the best defense against such foods. Keep in mind that brushing your teeth right after eating a food high in sugar or acid can actually harm your teeth so make sure you wait a short amount of time before doing so.
If you have any other questions regarding dental health, contact the Lakeway Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today!