Know which foods to avoid and the best practices when it comes to your oral hygiene. Eating sugary foods or drinking coffee too often will land you an appointment with Dr. Goold or Dr. Evans. Learning to have your favorite sugary drinks and snacks in moderation can help you maintain healthy enamel and gums.
Sweets and Treats
Foods high in sugar content are bad for your teeth for a few reasons. Candy, cookies, pies, and cake feed plaque buildup and bacteria growth. Candies like lollipops, caramels, and butterscotch are worse and harder to wash away, mainly because they stay in your mouth longer. You’ve heard your dentist tell you candy causes cavities, which is true! Plaque buildup can cause decay. Drink water before and after sugary foods, and remember to brush your teeth!
A common misconception is that you’re in the clear if you’re drinking diet or sugar-free soda, but soda also contains acid that harms your enamel. Most soda is also caffeinated, which is addictive, causing overconsumption. Avoid drinking soda altogether, but if you choose to drink it, be sure to drink in moderation, through a straw, and brush your teeth 30 minutes after drinking!
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea contain caffeine, like soda, which can be addictive and cause more regular consumption. A single cup of coffee is not bad for oral health; however, adding sugar to these beverages is damaging. Multiple cups of coffee can cause staining on teeth and dry out the mouth, causing gum inflammation and, in some cases, disease. Drink plenty of water when drinking coffee or tea to cleanse your mouth and avoid a dry mouth.
Liquor and Wine
Alcohol is a main culprit in dry mouth and can cause periodontitis (gum disease). Wine, in particular, contains an erosive acid that softens enamel and leaves teeth vulnerable to decay. Wine also has tannis, which causes dry mouth and tooth staining. Liquors usually contain a lot of sugar for taste, coating teeth in sugar and creating an excellent place for bacteria to accumulate. Drink plenty of water when consuming alcohol to stay hydrated and for oral health.
Opt for water over a sports drink following any physical activity to protect your oral health. Sports drinks are not only acidic and can cause damage to the enamel, but they are also thick, causing acidic ingredients and sugar to coat the teeth and mouth. This coating is a great host for bacteria to grow and cause further plaque buildup.
Fruits, especially citrus, can be very damaging to your enamel. The acid within these healthy snacks can wear enamel and cause plaque buildup on teeth. Other acidic foods like pickles are linked to damage. The vinegar that pickles are soaked in contains a very harsh acid, which can cause your enamel to deteriorate. Drink plenty of water when eating these particular foods.
Snacks like crackers, chips, and bread contain refined carbohydrates, which are sticky and cling to teeth. Starch builds up and becomes trapped between the teeth feeding plaque buildup. These carbs have been linked to inflammation and chronic diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis.
Tomatoes are incredibly acidic and can cause enamel to deteriorate. The tomato base in pasta sauce and the carbohydrates from the pasta are double the damage risk. The carbs from the noodles cause the acidic contents of the pasta sauce to stick to your teeth and become trapped in the enamel without proper cleaning. Always brush your teeth after eating pasta.
Dried fruits are a great healthy snack but are highly concentrated with sugar. The gummy consistency of the fruit is not friendly to your teeth, and consuming it can cause it to cling to teeth and cause cavities and even gum disease. Drink water and brush your teeth after consumption.
Ice is just water, but chewing hard substances can damage your enamel. Our enamels are very sensitive and delicate, making them prone to breaks or chips. Chewing ice can also cause a filling or crown to dislodge or break, leading to an emergency dentist appointment.
Knowing which foods are prone to oral damage is a positive step toward a healthy mouth. Eating certain foods in moderation and practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent emergency dentist appointments and additional dental procedures.
If you are experiencing discomfort while eating or drinking, contact Gentle Dentistry for a consultation. Dr. Evans and Dr. Goold are here to help you maintain good oral health and create patient-specific treatment plans for you and your family.