When you visit your dentist, you probably hear how sugary treats and drinks can damage your smile. But you might not learn that typical meals also break down your teeth. Your deli sandwich with orange juice or your Friday night beer might be eating away at your teeth. While you don’t necessarily need to avoid the foods listed below, you should be cautious and consume them in moderation.
Which Foods Aren’t Promoting a Healthy Smile?
1. Citrus Fruits & Juices
While oranges and other citruses fruits are part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, their high acid content can damage tooth enamel. As tooth enamel wears away, the cavity risk increases. Additionally, brushing immediately after eating or drinking something acidic can do even more damage. Acid weakens enamel and causes “demineralization,” which means your teeth’s minerals gradually strip away. Because of this, dentists recommend you wait at least an hour after eating acidic foods before brushing.
Bread doesn’t contain fast-acting sugar as candy does, but it is starchy. When you introduce starch to saliva, it turns to sugar. The type of bread you buy can have an impact on your dental health, too. Whole bread contains complex carbohydrates and bacteria has a harder time converting these into sugar for tooth decay.
3. Potato Chips
Starch-packed potato chips can break apart and stick in teeth’s crevices. In this case, make sure you diligently floss after eating to prevent food debris between your teeth. Dentists recommend flossing after each meal to get rid of hard-to-reach plaque and bacteria.
4. Sticky Foods
Sticky, sugary foods, like taffy pieces, can stick in your molars pits. These foods can even cause damage to dental fillings by potentially becoming stuck and dislodging them. Try chewing sugar-free gum instead, which is a less risky alternative to candy. Sugar-free gum’s other redeeming quality is boosting saliva production which fends off oral bacteria.
There are a few reasons alcohol can be bad for your teeth. First, consumption of alcohol can cause a dry mouth, which could accelerate tooth decay; saliva prevents plaque from clinging to teeth. Next, if your teeth have preexisting enamel damage, a mixed drink’s pigment will stain your teeth. And finally, beer, in particular, has loads of sugar-yielding carbohydrates. Consider drinking barley beer as it’s calcium-rich, because calcium strengthens your teeth. Try to drink in moderation and sip water while drinking an alcoholic beverage to prevent dental issues.
Dentist Susan Kleier DMD advises her patients on the role diet plays in proper dental care. As a trusted family dentist in Lexington, KY, her office provides restorative services like dental implants and veneers. If you are interested in cosmetic teeth-whitening, she offers either an in-office or a take-home option. Schedule an appointment for you or a loved one today by calling (859) 225-1188. You can also visit the website for more information regarding services.