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Don’t Let Your Diet Hurt Your Smile

  • September 9, 2016

There are three main things you need to do to have a great smile. The first one is making sure you are attending your regular dental exams and dental cleanings. These appointments should generally be every six months and are a pillar for your prolonged dental health. This is where Dr. Fox will be able to identify any developing issues, and get you started on a treatment plan as fast as possible. These routine visits are also preventive in that the cleanings will clear the debris that you miss when you brush. This isn’t because you don’t brush well; it is because no matter how effectively you brush and floss your teeth, there will be spots you just can’t reach.

The second pillar of a great smile is your personal dental hygiene. You need to brush your teeth at least twice per day (morning and night), floss to get the food out that is in between your teeth, and use mouthwash to help keep your gums healthy. All of this needs to be done religiously to keep your smile bright and healthy for years to come.

The third pillar is eating a good diet. One of the most true statements you will ever hear is, “You are what you eat.” If you put garbage in, then you will get garbage out. Adjusting your diet to take care of your teeth may be hard, but if you want a great smile, you need to do it. Here are some foods that you want to try and limit in your diet for the sake of your smile.

5 Foods That Hurt Your Smile

Citric Acid – One of the most common acids that we expose our teeth to is citric acid. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, etc. are all fruits that are high in citric acid. Acid is found in many foods, and it attacks your tooth enamel. Losing tooth enamel is no joke. Your teeth come in with all of the tooth enamel they will ever have, and once it is gone, it is gone forever. Protecting what you have is very important. One way to do this and still eat your oranges (great for your body with a high level of vitamin C) is to rinse your mouth out with water or even brush your teeth after eating this type of food.

Chewy and Hard Candy – Sugar is a great source of energy … and a wonderful food for the bacteria in your mouth that attacks your smile. Whether it leads to gum disease or tooth decay, the bacteria loves sugar. Chewy candy and hard candy floods your mouth with bacteria fuel, and if the sugar isn’t sucked up by the bacteria, it will end up getting stored as fat later on. Now, we know that you are not going to go cold turkey from Jolly Ranchers, so we suggest that you make sure you at least wash your mouth out with water after you eat one of these wonderfully tasting candies (we are candy fans, too!). It would be even better to brush your teeth afterward.

Coffee, Tea, and Wine – We know there is not a chance you are going to stop drinking any of these three beverages. Coffee is the only reason some of us are productive adults, tea is a great way of unwinding at the end of the day and also when you are under the weather, and there is more than one person out there whose first date with their now-spouse was successful thanks to pinot noir. What we want you to know is what kind of effect these beverages have on your smile. They are all responsible for some level of dental staining. Coffee will dull the color of your smile over time. Black tea is another one that will darken your smile, and too much red wine will leave you with a smile that looks dark or purple if you’re not careful. Make sure you rinse with water or brush after drinking any of these.

Soda Pop – Just like with candy, soda pop will fill your mouth with sugars that feed bacteria, but there is also phosphoric and citric acid in many soda pop brands. Think about putting these beverages down in favor of water. At the very least, make sure you are rinsing your mouth out after drinking them.

Pickles – Pickles are a food that you either love or hate; there really isn’t any in between. If you love them, make sure you rinse your mouth after eating them. If you hate them, you don’t need to worry about the extra damage to your teeth. Pickles have a very high acid content, and that acid attacks the health of your dental enamel.

Adjusting your diet or your after-meal routine is a big step toward helping your smile stay healthy. Call Dr. Fox at our Burke, VA office at 703-260-1677 to schedule your appointment for more dental advice and a healthy smile.