Everyone wants a pretty bright smile, but did you know some common foods can actually damage your teeth? Hard candies, soda, and acidic foods can all chip or erode your teeth’s enamel. Red wine, tea, and coffee can also stain your teeth. Here are the top seven foods according to the American Dental Association which damage your teeth. Keep in mind you don’t have to forgo your favorite foods, but enjoy them in moderation while you maintain a healthy diet and good oral hygiene habits.
- Hard candy – While a small piece of hard candy might not seem like it can damage your teeth, remember it is made of pure sugar. Sugar is consumed by the bacteria in your mouth which cause cavities, gum disease, and plaque. Hard candies can also chip or break a tooth as you chew on them. Instead enjoy some sugar free gum if you’re craving a sweet.
- Citrus fruit – A bit of lemon or lime in your water is a nice change, but remember citrus fruits are high in acid. The acid content in citrus fruit can wear away the enamel of your teeth and irritate your mouth. Enjoy citrus fruits, but do so in moderation and be sure to drink plenty of water to dilute the natural acids found in them.
- Coffee – While coffee does present some very good health benefits, if you add sugar to it you’re also adding to your risk of cavities and gum disease. Try the new natural sugar free sweeteners like stevia. They give you sweetness without sugar or chemicals. Coffee can also stain your teeth, which doesn’t damage them but can leave your smile lacking brilliance.
- Soda and health drinks – While you may realize soda is full of sugar, what you may not realize is most sports drinks have sugar as a main ingredient. When you are thirsty water is a much better choice since it has no sugar, and keeps your body hydrated. Water also helps clear out food debris from your mouth which can harbor bacteria growth.
- Sticky foods – Sticky chewy foods are delicious, but they tend to get stuck on and between your teeth. If they are not removed the sticky foods encourage the growth of bacteria which damage your teeth. If you are going to indulge in a sticky treat, be sure to brush and floss afterwards.
- Ice – Chewing ice may seem like a harmless habit, but it can lead to fractures in your teeth and tooth breakage. It is better to enjoy your water in liquid form.
- Chips – Who doesn’t love the crunch and salty taste of chips? But if you eat potato or corn chips you run the risk of leaving starch in your mouth. Starch is another favorite food of the bacteria which cause cavities and gum disease. Be sure to limit your chips, or brush and floss after enjoying them.
You don’t have to give up your favorite foods to protect your teeth. Eat and drink them in moderation and drink plenty of water. Keep up with your at home brushing and flossing routine, and be sure to make regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings.
Professional cleanings protect your teeth because your hygienist has the tools and skills to clean all the plaque and tartar off your teeth. Dr. Taylor recommends professional teeth cleaning every six months to keep your smile bright and healthy.
Call or contact us today if you have any questions about which foods to avoid, or to set up a schedule of regular checkups and teeth cleaning.