What you eat has a big impact on your oral health. Some foods are good for your teeth, others not so much. Here are some of the foods that aren’t good for your teeth, and why.
Sugary Foods and Tooth Decay
Foods with lots of sugar in them can cause tooth decay. Try to avoid sugar-filled foods like candy, cakes, cookies, pies, etc. The problem with sugary foods is that as you eat them, the sugar begins interacting with the plaque bacteria in your mouth to create acid. Over time, this acid dissolves the enamel on the surface of the tooth, leading to tooth decay and other problems. Even “good” sugars like those found in honey, molasses, or maple syrup can contribute to tooth decay.
Starch turns to sugar. When you consume starchy foods, like bread or potato chips, the saliva in your mouth begins to break the starch down into sugar. Bread is especially bad because chewing and saliva transform it into a pasty substance that can get stuck in the crevasses between your teeth.
Acidic Foods Weaken Teeth
Like sugar, acids eat away at tooth enamel, weakening the tooth and making it more susceptible to damage and disease. You may be surprised at some of the foods with high acid content. They include:
- Tomatoes (this includes ketchup, pasta sauce, etc.)
- Citrus fruits
- Vinegar (this includes pickled foods, dressings, apple cider vinegar, etc.)
Drinks to Avoid for Healthy Teeth
Many soft drinks contain high levels of sugar. All soft drinks, even sugar-free brands, contain acid. Both contribute to tooth decay. Soft drinks can also contribute to dry mouth. A dry mouth lacks saliva, which helps prevent food from sticking to your teeth and washes away food particles.
Orange, lemon, grapefruit, and other citrus fruit juices have high levels of sugar and acid.
Wine contains high levels of acid. Consuming any alcoholic beverage can result in dry mouth.
Also be careful of the ice in your drinks. Eating a hard substance like ice can chip, crack or break a tooth and damage the tooth’s enamel.
Even babies can be susceptible to tooth decay. To prevent tooth decay, it’s recommended that infants younger than 12 months drink only breast milk or infant formula. For children aged 1 to 5, servings of juice, flavored milk, and other sugar-sweetened drinks should be limited.
Some Foods You Should Eat for a Healthy Smile
Fortunately, there are plenty of foods that are good for your teeth. Foods that are low in sugar, starches and acids, but rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C, are essential to protecting your overall oral health. These include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, cheese, milk, eggs, and green and black teas. Your dentist can provide more recommendations.
Limiting Tooth Damage from Food and Drink
Here are the best ways to limit the damage done by sugary, starchy, or acidic foods:
- Avoiding snacking between meals and before bedtime
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Drinking plenty of water
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Getting a regular checkup and professional teeth cleaning
The Dental Space is the Place for the Best Family Dental Care in San Marcos, TX
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the dentist, or you have a new addition to the family, schedule a dental exam and cleaning at The Dental Space today. We provide dental care for children and adults of all ages in San Marcos, TX, and surrounding communities.
Dr. McCartor and his team are dedicated to providing patients in San Marcos with the latest and most advanced dental care and procedures. Arcade games, movie memorabilia, and in-suite movies make going to The Dental Space a unique — and even pleasant — experience for you and your family.
Contact The Dental Space through our website or call us at 512-667-9770 to schedule your appointment today. We accept most major forms of dental insurance and offer a wide range of payment options.