To our amazing parents and their kiddos, The summer months are a great chunk of…
Your teeth are a very important part of your body — from helping you eat and talk to smiling and conveying emotions, your teeth do a lot! They can also be very telling about what you have been eating and drinking because certain foods and beverages cause plaque which can lead to teeth damage. As defined by Cleveland Clinic, plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink and these acids can lead to cavities and gingivitis (gum disease).
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities remain the most common chronic disease of children and teens aged 6 to 19 years, despite being largely preventable! So what can you do to protect your teeth from excessive plaque and cavities? Other than following a consistent hygiene routine or brushing, flossing, and regular checkups, avoid or limit your intake of the following foods.
1. Chewy Candies
Other than that fact that chewy and sour candies tend to be full of sugar, they also are extremely sticky. Because of this they cling to your teeth and are more likely to cause decay. It is best to limit all candy intake but if you have a craving for sweets, grab a piece of chocolate instead.
2. Bread, Chips, Crackers
Bread, chips, and crackers are full of starchy, refined carbohydrates which when chewed, breaks down into sugar. You have probably also noticed that as you chew these starchy foods the texture becomes a gummy-like paste, allowing them to stick to the crevices between your teeth and contribute to cavity formation. Opt for whole wheat options instead because they contain less sugar.
When you drink alcohol, it dries out your mouth which leads to a lack of saliva. Saliva is essential because it prevents foods from sticking to your teeth and washes aways debris that could otherwise become problematic. To keep your mouth hydrated, drink plenty of water!
Nothing good really comes from soda, even the diet varieties. These carbonated drinks enable plaque to attack your tooth enamel by producing more acid. Like alcohol, it also dries out your mouth and lessens saliva!
Ice is only frozen water so it seems harmless, but chewing on a hard substance like ice can actually damage your enamel and put you at risk of chipping, cracking, or breaking your teeth!
6. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits contain high amounts of acid that can erode enamel and lead to decay. To benefit from their vitamin and antioxidant content, eat/drink them in moderation and rinse with plain water afterward.
BONUS: Which foods can help my teeth?
Many foods and drinks can stain or damage your teeth but what about those that can prevent or reverse the damage?
- Sugarless Gum – read our blog post to learn more!
- Water – Water, like saliva, helps wash sugars and acid off teeth
- Dairy – Dairy products are full of Calcium, which is essential for strengthening tooth enamel
- Vegetables and High-Fiber Foods – beyond a ton of other health benefits, these types of foods typically require a lot of chewing, which both generates saliva and physically “scrubs” food particles from your teeth!
- Strawberries – these berries contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener.
If you have noticed any pain or sensitivity in your teeth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Duong or Dr. Katz today!