We all likely have a pretty good idea of how to keep up with our oral health, for example brushing, flossing and going to the dentist. Many people, however, are unaware that some common things that you eat and drink can have a direct impact on your teeth. Sure, there are obvious things we all know like eating candy all day is not good for your teeth. This, of course, will create cavities but there are several other surprising things that can be just as bad.
Many things we consume create plaque on the teeth which contains bacteria that are related to issues like tooth decay and gum disease. These bacteria start to cause problems when we consume sugar. The sugar is broken down by the bacteria which create acids that eat away at your enamel causing tooth decay and when the tooth decay goes untreated, cavities can form.
Sugar is typically the main concern regarding cavities but there are certainly other foods and drinks that can contribute. Below you will find a list of surprising things that are bad for your teeth – some of which are things we consume every day – and how to combat their damage. Like mostly everything in life, moderation is key and being aware of what can cause damage to your teeth will help improve how you take care of them.
We know that consuming too much alcohol is dangerous for our bodies but it also is damaging to our teeth. This is because alcohol leads to a dry mouth which limits the amount of saliva produced. Dry mouth happens because alcohol acts as a diuretic which dehydrates your body. Saliva is a necessary function in maintaining good oral health because it helps wash away food particles, prevents them from clinging to our teeth and maintains the pH balance of our mouth. Some ways to combat a dry mouth is by either avoiding alcohol altogether or by drinking glasses of water while you consume alcohol.
While you may think dried fruit is an easy and healthy snack, it actually is horrible for your teeth. Most dried fruit tends to be very sticky making it easy to cling to your teeth. Sticky foods are harder to remove as they can get stuck in the tiniest of crevices. They also are full of sugar and many of them are coated in extra sugar as well. This means that not only is all of the sugar already not good, but when the sticky pieces do end up in hard to reach places the sugar will linger on your teeth. Stick to eating fresh fruit as it has a lower sugar concentration and if you must eat dried fruit make sure to brush and floss after you are done.
Since water is obviously not damaging to your teeth, this one may seem shocking. Very often people cool down their drinks with ice and end up munching on some pieces while they drink. While the act is very innocent and some people don’t even realize they do it, chewing on ice will damage your enamel, loosen crowns and lead to broken, chipped or cracked teeth. Next time you have ice in your drink make sure not to chew on it or drink your beverages chilled without ice.
Being conscious about what type of bread and how much you are consuming will not only help your waistline, but also your teeth. Many types of bread, like white bread, are high in starch and your saliva breaks the starch down into sugar. When your saliva breaks down the bread, it turns into a sticky substance that easily gets trapped in between your teeth. When sticky sugars are stuck in between your teeth it can lead to cavities. Opt for a whole grain bread the next time you go to the grocery store, the less-refined types of bread are harder to break down because they contain fewer sugars.
Fruits like limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruits are full of beneficial vitamins, but they also are very acidic. Letting acid from fruits sit on your teeth will erode the enamel and make you prone to decay or other issues. Many people often drink their waters with lemons or alcoholic drinks with limes but even just that tiny amount of citrus juice is too much acid for your teeth. The best ways to eat citrus fruits is in moderation, with a meal, and rinsing or brushing afterward.
Dentists get all kinds of questions from patients and we’re happy to address your concerns about dietary habits that might be harming your teeth. We suggest you make an appointment with your dentist and they can figure out the root cause of your issues.