When it comes to your oral health, your teeth and gums rule. You’ll want to keep them healthy by brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly to protect your tooth enamel. Anything that weakens tooth enamel means that oral bacteria and dental plaque can create holes in the enamel, allowing tooth decay and cavities to develop. Those cavities cause pain, problems chewing and abscesses in the tooth. Hardened plaque turns into tartar which isn’t just bad for teeth, but leads to gingivitis, the beginning stage of gum disease!
To avoid damaging tooth enamel, you’ll also want to watch what you eat and drink! Here are 7 of the worst foods for your oral health. The goal is to avoid foods and beverages that encourage plaque formation as this sticky bacteria-filled biofilm releases acids when mixing with sugary foods and beverages, leading the attack on your tooth enamel.
-Potato Chips: These are loaded with starches that can become trapped in between your pearly whites and feed plaque bacteria, releasing acids.
-Bread: As your saliva breaks the starches in the bread down into sugar, the paste can cling to those crevices between your teeth leading to cavities.
-Dried Fruits: While dried fruits appear healthy, they are bad for your teeth! Limit consumption of prunes, figs, apricots, cranberries and raisins as snacks as they are sticky, leaving behind a sugary residue. In this case, fresh fruit is better than dried!
-Citrus fruits and juices: Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons and limes are loaded with vitamin C. Even so, they contain harmful acids that attack tooth enamel leaving you cavity-prone. A good way to eat citrus is with meals in moderation, and rinse well with water when you are done.
-Sour Candies: These have harmful acids that are bad for enamel and cling to your teeth because of their sweet and chewy consistency. Your teeth are better off with some chocolate instead, as it melts and rinses away quickly.
-Alcohol: Alcohol dries out your mouth by creating insufficient saliva levels which is crucial to keeping your mouth healthy. Saliva’s job is to keep food from sticking to your teeth by rinsing away bad bacteria and food particles left behind after eating that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. For a healthier mouth, limit alcohol consumption and keep hydrated with plenty of water.
-Carbonated Drinks: Carbonated sodas allow oral plaque to release more acids that weaken tooth enamel, which basically means you’re bathing your teeth in acid, which dries out your mouth, reducing saliva. Limit carbonated drinks and drink them with a straw followed by rinsing your mouth out with water afterward.
As you can see, your oral hygiene depends on good daily oral hygiene habits combined with keeping your tooth enamel safe from the foods and drinks you most often consume. Be sure to brush and floss daily, and in between, watch what you eat and drink. Your smile will thank you!