Posted by Dr. Micah Thornley on Jan 9 2023, 09:49 PM
Our teeth are not designed to deal with many of the foods we eat today. While a healthy diet is important for overall health, some foods can be bad for your teeth. Here is a list of foods and beverages that are bad for our oral health and smile.
Eating a lot of sugar increases your risk for tooth decay because it feeds oral bacteria. Bacteria in your mouth produce acid, which erodes and weakens tooth enamel. Plaque is a sticky biofilm that adheres to teeth, and it produces acids when sugars or starches are present. Your mouth’s pH can be lowered to a dangerous level by plaque acids; over time, this can cause demineralization of your teeth. When your teeth are healthy, they’re naturally harder and less susceptible to damage. But when your enamel has been worn away, they become softer, weaker, and much more susceptible to cavities.
Some candies are worse than others when it comes to oral health. Hard candies tend to stick in the crevices of the teeth and are difficult to remove. This can cause plaque to bond with the sugars in the candy, creating acid that can eat away at the enamel. Sticky candy causes the taste buds on the tongue to become coated with sugar. This leads to more cravings for sweet foods and then a vicious cycle of unhealthy eating.
Soft drinks and energy drinks are dangerous for your oral health because they are extremely acidic and contain high amounts of sugar. Fruit juices can also be harmful because of their high acid content. If your diet is rich in acidic or sugary foods and drinks, your enamel will slowly start to erode away. Once the enamel wears off, the dentin layer is exposed, and your teeth will become sensitive. The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugar and produce acids that attack the teeth. Over time this can cause cavities and even tooth decay.
Caffeine in coffee and tea can stain teeth and cause bad breath. The tannins in these beverages can also contribute to tooth decay and damage enamel. If you must drink coffee or tea for health reasons, consider drinking it using a straw to minimize contact with teeth. You can also rinse with water after consuming to reduce staining.
Additionally, the coffee itself is not healthy for your teeth. It has acidic properties that can erode the protective enamel on the tooth surface and cause decay. It’s important to brush immediately after drinking coffee or sip a cup of water to wash away some of the acids.
Wine has tannins in it that have the potential to stain your teeth. It can also dry out your mouth, causing discomfort. If you choose to drink wine, try to rinse with water after to help neutralize the acidity. It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether, but if you must drink it, use a straw to prevent contact with your teeth.
While sports drinks seem like good choices to rehydrate after physical activity, they are actually the worst choice for you when out on the field or at the gym. These beverages are full of sugar and alcohol, both of which can contribute to tooth decay. Another issue with sports beverages is the acidic nature of many of these drinks. This acidity can weaken tooth enamel, making teeth more prone to developing cavities. If you do decide to drink one of these during your exercise session, be sure to rinse with water afterward to reduce the acids on your teeth and rinse the sugars off of your teeth and gums.
While citrus fruits and juices are very healthy in the diet, it’s recommended that you drink them in moderation and ideally after a meal or snack. This is because acidic foods and beverages can erode (or wear away) teeth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay.
We request you schedule a consultation with our team of dental experts to get all your oral concerns addressed at the earliest. Please call us at (435) 713-0096 or schedule an online consultation, and we'll be happy to help.
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