The Worst Foods For Your Smile
- May 21, 2016
We all know that candy is bad for our oral health, but it’s hardly the only thing that does damage. Some of the foods that harm your teeth are obvious, but others are doing just as much damage without you even realizing it.
At Fox Family Dentistry we believe the best dentistry is preventative, and that includes eating the right way for your oral health. If you’ve ever wondered whether something was bad for your teeth we might have the answer right here!
How Food Harms Your Teeth
It all boils down to how food interacts with the oral bacteria in your mouth. When that bacteria is exposed to sugars it produces acid that softens and damages your tooth enamel, which in turn can be worn away. If too much enamel wears away a cavity forms, and as it continues to grow it becomes a safe spot for bacteria to cause more and more damage.
A lot of foods contain sugar – even things you wouldn’t suspect. But it isn’t only sugar that does damage.
Plenty of foods are acidic, and those don’t need sugar to do damage. While some acidic foods also contain sugar it’s the acid that’s the real problem in these items – they’re basically skipping the middle man and going straight for the thing that actually damages your teeth.
To make matters worse, the enamel softening caused by acid makes your teeth more susceptible to damage for about a half hour after you eat. Make sure you wait to brush your teeth if you’re eating any of these foods.
- Citrus fruit are some of the most dangerous you can eat. While there are plenty of great reasons to eat citrus you need to temper that with the knowledge that grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes are all packed with tooth-destroying acids.
- Anything high in vinegar, like pickles and salad dressing, are also high in acid. Too much of it can do just as much damage as citrus!
- Tomato products, whether it’s ketchup, salsa, hot sauce, or anything else, are all highly acidic. Not only that, but they really stain your teeth!
- Coffee contains a whole bunch of acid. We all love our morning pick-me-up, but be sure you brush your teeth before you drink it, not after.
Surprising Sources Of Sugar
Candy, cake, cookies – those ones are obviously packed with sugar. But it’s not just sweets that are dangerous. There are two kinds of sugar that show up in the foods we eat: glucose and fructose. While fructose is the sweet stuff glucose does just as much damage, and all without being the same sweet, sugary taste that we love.
- Anything containing processed flour and high levels of starch is a source of hidden sugar. Chips, white bread, crackers, and pretzels are all bad – just as bad as candy, in fact!
- Dried fruit might sound healthy, but it’s also packed with sugar. Fresh fruit can counteract a lot of the high sugar levels it contains because it’s also packed with fiber. Dry the fruit out, however, and you lose a lot of that sugar-countering ability.
- A single red apple can contain up to 20 grams of sugar – that’s a lot from a single fruit! Apples aren’t always the best at fighting off their own sugar, so if you really feel the need to snack on a fresh one go green instead – they’re a lot better for your health.
- Potato chips aren’t made from processed flour, but they’re still high in starches that break down into sugar in your mouth. Like pretzels and crackers, they tend to stick around and do serious damage!
Soda: An Obvious One
Even diet sodas are bad for your teeth, and it’s not just the sugar that’s doing it. The carbonation in soda helps plaque bacteria stick to your teeth and increases acid production: two things you definitely don’t want your favorite food or drink to do!
Drinking a lot of soda is pretty much like coating your teeth in acids that eat away at them constantly. Some studies have even found that heavy soda use can damage your teeth just as much as methamphetamines.
Keep Your Smile Healthy With Us
If you want to keep your teeth in good shape you need to do a few things: cut down on these dangerous foods, brush your teeth twice a day, and floss every night. The last essential piece of the puzzle is to make sure you’re getting twice annual cleanings and exams at Fox Family Dentistry. That’s how we can identify problems and treat them before they become serious!
Don’t let your smile suffer because you have some favorite foods – give us a call today to schedule an appointment! You can reach our Burke office at 703-260-1677 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!