We’ve all heard how soda, candy, and alcohol are terrible for our teeth, but did you know some of the healthiest foods for your body can be rough on your smile? Those wholesome foods can cause weakened enamel, tooth decay, and even cavities.
It all comes down to the acid in the foods. Lots of nutritious foods either contain acid, or it’s converted from sugars by the bacteria in your mouth. Even though the food is beneficial for your body, you have to pay extra attention to how it affects your mouth. Over time, these foods listed can eat away at your enamel and cause harm. The good news is, you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether.
Carbohydrates – Brown rice, whole-grain pasta, and sweet potatoes are great for your body, but they can cause some damage to your teeth. Even bread can have an impact on your smile if left for a long time or overnight in between your teeth. The pre-digestive enzymes in your saliva will metabolize the carbohydrates into sugars, and the acid it produces can erode your teeth.
Tip: Brushing your teeth after you eat gets rid you of those acids that linger in your mouth after a healthy meal. Add it to your routine every day and you’ll be one step closer to keeping your dental health in check.
Fruits – Fruits can carry a great deal of enamel-eroding acids as well.
Sticky dried fruits (like figs, mangos, etc.) can cause cavities with their high sugar concentrations. Dried fruits are also packed full of non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars to your teeth.
Tip: Instead of snacking on those foods during the day, plan on having them as part of your meals. It limits the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the acids. It also kick-starts your salivary glands to produce some extra saliva to neutralize the acids and naturally protects your enamel. Remember to rinse your teeth after to avoid staining.
Pickles – Pickles are a tasty mixture of veggies and vinegar, but that is a recipe for erosion. The super-acidic vinegar and sugar can eat away at your enamel very easily and cause irreversible deterioration.
Tip: Drink water with your meal can definitely help. Water can neutralize the acids in your mouth and wash them away. Plus, water is good for you!
Juices and Sports Drinks – Juices and sports drinks can cause all sorts of issues for your teeth. Many of the drinks have sugars added to them and, even though they may taste better than water, can be hurtful to your teeth.
Tip: The best way to avoid damage from juices and sports drinks is to use a straw. That prevents the drink having too much contact with your teeth. That way, you can still enjoy your favorite energy-boosting beverages, without worrying about causing too many problems in your mouth.
Beets and Berries – This may sound like a strange combination, but beets and berries are hyper-pigmented foods. These foods can deposit color on your teeth while you are eating and leave you with a less-than-white smile. Deeply hued greens like kale can do the same. A good rule of thumb is – any food that will stain your shirt will stain your teeth.
Tip: Right after you finish eating hyper-pigmented foods, rinse out your mouth. You want to pull the color away from your teeth as soon as possible and avoid having to go in for dental whitening!
Black and Green Teas – Tea comprises of compounds that interact with the plaque and suppress bacteria, preventing them from producing tooth-attacking acid. It not only helps to prevent cavities from developing but also reduces inflammation and the chances of developing gum disease.
Tip: Right after you finish drinking tea, rinse out your mouth. Don’t add any sugar to your tea!
The best foods for your teeth:
You can still have a fresh diet that enriches your dental health while nourishing your body. Here are some great foods and dental care tips to keep your body and smile glowing:
• Fiber-Rich Vegetables: Foods with fiber increase saliva flow, which is a natural defense against those harmful cavities. Not only does saliva wash away food fragments stuck in your teeth, after you eat something, but saliva also neutralizes the acids attacking your teeth. Pick out some crisp vegetables like carrots and celery for your next snack.
• Milk, Cheese, Plain Yogurt, and Other Dairy Products: The calcium in dairy products is essential for the health of your body and your teeth. Without enough calcium in your diet, you can start developing tooth decay and other problems. The calcium in your teeth also mixes with plaque and sticks to your teeth, protecting them from acids and rebuilds the tooth enamel on the spot.
• Chewing Sugarless Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can rinse harmful acid off your teeth. But be sure it’s sugarless! Chewing gum with sugar may increase your chances of developing a cavity. Some sugarless gums include xylitol, which has shown to have decay-preventive qualities and even quenches dry mouth. Research indicates that xylitol most likely blocks the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the oral bacteria that cause uncomfortable cavities.
• Water with fluoride: Fluoridated drinking water can keep your teeth strong. Some bottled water may not include as much fluoride as water from the tap. If this is your primary source of water, be sure that you use other kinds of fluoridated products like toothpaste and mouthwash. You can even ask your dental hygienist about fluoride supplementation.
With Smiles on Wheels Dental, we can help you take care of your teeth on your own time. Start off with a mobile dental cleaning and then ask your dental hygienist on how you can still eat healthy without hurting your smile.