They say you are what you eat, but did you know that what you eat can also have lasting effects on your teeth?
Everyone knows that candy is bad for your teeth. From hard to chewy, the sugar and acid in candy can really wear away at your enamel and can cause – you guessed it – cavities. They can also break or crack your teeth and get stuck between them, leading to plaque buildup. If you’re craving something sweet, dark chocolate is soft on your teeth and can be easily washed away with a sip of water.
You may have guessed that alcohol is tough on your teeth. Cocktails like margaritas and daiquiris are obviously bad because of the overload of sugar that can lead to cavities. But did you know that alcohol dries out your mouth? This eliminates saliva, which has many benefits including preventing food from sticking to your teeth, washing away food particles, and even helping repair early signs of tooth decay and gum disease.
This may be a surprising one. When chewing bread, your saliva breaks down starch into sugar, creating a gummy-like substance that can stick to the crevices in between your teeth. If this residue is left there, it can cause cavities. The sugars that dissolve inside the mouth also cause a surge of acid that can erode your enamel. You don’t need to cut bread out of your diet; instead choose less-refined varieties like whole wheat that contain fewer added sugars and don’t break down as easily.
Even if it’s a diet soda, carbonated drinks are incredibly acidic. This acid can weaken your tooth enamel while also drying out your mouth and reducing your saliva. Dark-colored sodas can also discolor or stain your teeth. If you need to indulge, try drinking your carbonated beverage through a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.
Chewing on ice may be enjoyable, but it can actually damage your enamel and can crack or chip your teeth. Resist the urge to chew, or opt to drink beverages without ice.
From oranges to grapefruits, citrus fruit contains acid that erodes enamel. Even flavoring your water with a squeeze of lemon adds acid to a drink. Drink water while you enjoy a citrus snack, and use essential oils to flavor your drinks instead.
Potato Chips and Popcorn
Who can resist potato chips and popcorn? Unfortunately, you should think twice before you eat them for more reasons than your waistline. When tiny chip and popcorn particles get stuck between your teeth, they feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay, while the continued snacking causes acid production to linger for a while. Be sure to floss and rinse your mouth out after you indulge.
The best defense is always a clean mouth, so be sure to make an appointment with Overland Park Family Dental for regular cleanings!