The foods you eat can have a big effect on your oral health. Some foods can promote oral health, while others can have a negative effect. But what exactly are the worst foods for oral health? Keep reading to find out.
Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria that live in the mouth. These bacteria feed on sugar, creating acids as a byproduct. Each time a person consumes sugary food, the acid attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more until the saliva can neutralize it. The constant cycle of eating sugar and producing acid causes the enamel to weaken and eventually erode completely. Dentists recommend drinking water after eating or drinking anything with sugar. Water helps rinse away excess food and keeps the mouth clean to avoid tooth decay.
Sticky foods are the worst culprits, as they linger in the mouth and promote plaque and tartar buildup, as well as tooth decay. This includes foods such as raisins, chewy candies, popcorn, caramels, gummy and hard candies, gum, dried fruit, granola, potato chips, hard pretzels, cookies, and more. These sugary/acidic foods are not only bad for our teeth, but they can also pose other health risks as well. However, just because these foods and drinks are sticky does not mean you should avoid them altogether. If you eat them in moderation, they likely won't do much harm to your oral health.
Sodas and other soft drinks contain sugar that can impact not only your waistline but your oral health as well. Sugars found in soda cause bacteria in the mouth to break down the enamel on your teeth, causing decay. Additionally, tannins found within dark sodas like red wine or chocolate also contribute to tooth staining. By drinking these beverages in moderation, you can minimize the impact on your smile.
You can still enjoy your favorite beverages while limiting their effects on your smile by rinsing your mouth with water after consumption. You can also consider trading soda for healthier options like sugar-free drinks or water. Visiting your dentist twice a year will help to identify cavities before they progress into serious oral health concerns.
It's no secret that coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a mild stimulant that can increase heart rate and blood pressure. For those who suffer from high blood pressure, these beverages might be off-limits. But if you enjoy both beverages in moderation, you should be able to enjoy them without damaging your smile.
Drinking coffee will not stain your teeth, but it can cause discoloration if the beverage is consumed in excess or too frequently. If you drink coffee or tea regularly, consider rinsing your mouth with water after drinking the beverage to wash away any residue or stains. And if you do experience staining, professional teeth whitening treatments can help brighten your smile.
When it comes to your oral health, wine seems like it should be okay. It has antioxidants! It is made from grapes, which are healthy for you! There is some truth to all of that, but moderation is key. Too much of anything can be damaging to your teeth or your body in general.
Drinking red wine is possible in moderation as an antioxidant, but the pH of wine is acidic and can cause damage to teeth. The acidity in wine can also wear down tooth enamel over time. In addition, wine contains tannins which can contribute to staining both teeth and your drinkware.
You can minimize the risk of damage to your teeth and enjoy the benefits of moderate wine consumption by drinking water afterward. The combination can help to wash away acids and stains from your mouth and teeth.
Most sports drinks have a high acid content. The acid weakens tooth enamel and makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, most contain a lot of sugar. Sugar feeds the bacteria in plaque, which produce harmful acids that attack tooth enamel. If you drink sports drinks regularly, you increase your risk of tooth decay. The next time you have a sports drink, brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water afterward to wash away the damaging sugars and protect your tooth enamel.
Oranges and grapefruits contain acids that cause damage to tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. The high acid content of citrus juices erodes the protective layer of your teeth, leading to sensitivity and discoloration. Drinking these beverages in moderation is recommended because fruits in their whole form will stimulate saliva production, which helps to rinse away food particles from the teeth. However, when drinking fruit juices, be sure to drink them through a straw and rinse your mouth out with water afterward to reduce the acidity level in your mouth. This also applies to lemon water drinks; they are acidic and can erode your enamel over time.
If you’re interested to learn more, call our dentist today to schedule a consultation. You can call us at (209) 554-1700 or visit our clinic located at 1317 Oakdale Rd Suite 310, Modesto, California 95355.