Diet plays a huge role in determining a person’s overall health and well-being. For decades, doctors have been stressing the importance of what we put into our bodies. We’re told to count, measure, and meticulously watch everything from calories to fat to sugar to cholesterol. Don’t eat too much sodium. Don’t drink sugary beverages. Watch out for foods high in trans fats. Trade butter for margarine. Healthy eating adages abound with advice about what foods to eat and which to avoid if you want to lose weight, cut belly fat, build muscle, and even improve memory. But when it comes to oral health and the overall condition and appearance of your teeth, what food should you eat? And which should you avoid? As it turns out, what you put in your mouth really could make or break (literally) your teeth.
10 Foods to Avoid
Coffee is a great pick-me-up for those lazy late afternoons. Unfortunately, if you care about your teeth, you should put the mug down. Coffee is very acidic and will erode away enamel over time. Worse, the natural pigments in coffee which give it’s rich, dark color are also liable to stain your pearly whites. If you need your cup of joe to get the morning started, try using a straw.
Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world (after water), and like coffee, contains mood-lifting caffeine. Unfortunately for the over 158 million Americans drinking tea on any given day, tea also contains lots of teeth-staining tannins.
Tomato-based sauces, dips, and dressings are the ultimate trifecta of the three primary teeth-wreckers: acid, sugar, and pigments. Acidic sauces erode enamel while sugar fuels destructive bacteria that demineralize teeth. Both of these undesirable actions make teeth more porous and more vulnerable to staining by pigments. Guess what food contains a lot of dark pigments? Tomato sauce.
Potato chips are just all-around bad for your oral and general health. Not only are they fatty, salty, and nutritionally worthless, they‘re also rather rough on your teeth. Abrasive chips grind away at your teeth and gums. Meanwhile, their starchy nature makes them the perfect source of food for dentin-destroying microbes.
Citrus fruits are good for your general health, but damaging to teeth. Acidic in nature, be mindful of the amount of citrus you consume to avoid unnecessary enamel erosion. For fruit-based juices and other acidic beverages, consider using a straw to bypass the teeth entirely to spare them from destructive acids.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. However, an apple a day might also be the reason you’re at the dentist with cracked teeth and loose fillings. The truth is, apples are actually an excellent source of nutrients but are one of the top causes of broken teeth. Be sure to slice them up into bite-sized pieces beforehand to avoid accidentally damaging your chompers.
Dried fruits are nature’s candy. Arguably healthier than traditional candies and confections, they are still loaded with sugars and stick to your teeth, creating the perfect conditions for bad bacteria to flourish. Skip the dried fruits and opt for the fresh variety.
White bread and other starchy foods such as pasta and white rice are simple carbohydrates that are converted into sugar almost immediately upon entering the mouth. Unfortunately, this means that they also make great food for sugar-loving microbes that spew out acid in return, damaging and eroding the teeth and gums. Like candy, simple carbs are best avoided.
Wine is notorious for its staining potential, and your pearly whites are no exception. Teeth are especially susceptible to being damaged by the acids found in both red and white wines, as well vulnerable to staining thanks to the high tannin content. Wine may be detrimental to your dental health, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to skip the grape. Just be sure to follow up each sip of wine with a sip of water to help rinse away any excess tannins and neutralize acids.
Chewing, biting, or otherwise grinding ice cubes with your teeth is one of the worst things you could do to your dentures. Ice can physically break or damage teeth.
Bonus: Bottled Water
Some bottled waters are actually acidic which means that they can actually dissolve and damage the enamel of your teeth over time. Be sure to check your favorite bottled water distributor to ensure that you are drinking bottled water that is as close to PH neutral as possible.
Are your teeth lacking the natural brightness they once had? Are you looking to completely restore your smile? Contact us today and schedule a consultation with me. I look forward to your call at 818-465-5041 or just click the Schedule An Appointment button below.