Good nutrition and healthy foods are essential parts of living a healthy lifestyle. Similar is also true for your dental health. However, sometimes healthy food is bad food for teeth. The following list features five types of foods that many consider healthy but are bad food for the teeth. However, lifestyle habits like meal timing and dental hygiene may help mitigate some of the problems you may encounter when eating these healthy foods that are bad for your teeth’s health.
1. Fruits and Fruit Juices
You may have heard the recommendation that you consume five servings for fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruits are good for your body but in some ways, they are bad food for the teeth. Unfortunately, fruits contain high amounts of sugar and are also acidic. The sugars and acids break down your tooth enamel and damage your teeth. Fruit juice is even worse since a glass of juice contains concentrated sugars and acids from multiple fruits without the cleansing fiber. Dried fruit, such as raisins, are damaging to teeth since they stick around and find their way into the grooves of the teeth.
Solution: Make sure that your five a day are low sugar, less acidic fruits. When you enjoy fruit, opt for whole fruit rather than juice as much as possible. Finally, drink still water or rinse your mouth with water afterward to dilute the sugars and acids. Wait around twenty minutes to brush your teeth since the fruit acids temporarily weaken the enamel.
2. Sticky and Starchy Foods
Although recent diet trends limit refined carbohydrates, many people still eat moderate amounts of starchy carbs. Starchy and sticky foods like pasta, potatoes, white bread, and rice stick to your teeth and provide an energy source for bacteria, making them a bad food for the teeth. Your saliva starts converting starches to sugars shortly after eating. Sometimes people mistakenly assume starchy foods that don’t taste sweet are good for dental health so they overlook the dental health risk. The popularity of low carbohydrate diets resulted in more awareness about the effects of starches, especially in refined carbohydrates.
Other sticky foods like peanut butter also stick to and between the teeth. Consider drinking still water while eating sticky foods.
Solution: Limit your sticky foods to mealtime and brush your teeth after at least two of your meals. Floss every day to help minimize the starches that build on and between your teeth. Drink clear still water with meals and between meals to help flush your mouth as well as to keep you hydrated.
3. Hard Foods Like Ice Cubes
Water is good for your dental health, but ice poses potential hazards. Biting into hard objects like ice increase your risk of breaking or chipping a tooth. In addition, you also risk losing or damaging a filling or your dental appliances. Drinking water is very beneficial to your oral health. Many people find they are more willing to drink more water if that water contains ice. Just be sure to resist chewing or biting down on the ice.
In addition to ice, avoid chewing other hard foods like hard candy or toffee. Also, be careful when eating soft foods that may contain pits such as olives or cherries. Even when you buy pitted fruits, sometimes the food processing machines miss some. Be careful just in case. It is no fun to lose a filling because you accidentally bit into a cherry pit!
Solution: Don’t bite or chew ice, instead allow it to melt.
4. Foods That Stain Your Teeth
Highly pigmented foods like red wine, dark fruits, coffee, and tea discolor your teeth over time, making them bad food for teeth. Some of these foods are also acidic so the damage compounds. Some stain removal toothpaste is abrasive and may damage tooth enamel. So in another way, consuming foods that stain may result in damaging the teeth as well as making them look less attractive.
Solution: Limit consumption of highly pigmented foods and other foods that may stain the teeth. For example, avoid sipping coffee all day then sipping red wine all evening. Abstain or confine light-to-moderate portions to one meal. Then drink still water or rinse your mouth. Brush your teeth after the meal, perhaps waiting twenty minutes if the food or beverage was also acidic.
5. Carbonated Drinks Including Sparkling Water
Carbonated drinks, even water, damage the teeth even when they are low in sugar and acids. The carbonation comes from carbon dioxide. A reaction in your mouth transforms the carbon dioxide into carbonic acid which happens to be acidic. This acid wears away and weakens your tooth enamel.
While sparkling water is not as acidic as fruit juices or sodas, but it still causes damage. Some people like to add a slice of citrus fruit like lemons, limes, or oranges to their sparkling water. This can be a low calorie, low sugar beverage but the citrus makes the sparkling water even more acidic.
Solution: Consider switching to still water or even drinking carbonated drinks with a straw. Limit your sparkling water to a glass then switch to still water. Many people opt for sparkling water or white wine spritzers at parties believing it is a healthier option than pure wine or cocktails. This is true, but consider snacking on treats that are low in acid like nuts, crudites, avocados, or cheese.
Finally, there are lifestyle choices that promote oral health. With the right habits, you should be able to enjoy some of these “bad foods for teeth.”
Healthy Habits to Counteract Bad Food for Teeth
- Sipping drinks or nibbling on snacks throughout the day are more damaging than if you confine your eating to specific times. Try eating just 3-4 times a day. If you need to eat more often, speak with your dentist about healthy snacks for teeth and hygiene habits.
- Brush twice a day after meals using a soft bristled brush. Brushing too vigorously or too often may damage teeth. Talk with your dentist or hygienist to make sure you have good brushing technique.
- Floss every day.
- Develop a taste for still, clear water. If you enjoy ice water, avoid chewing on the ice.
- Visit your dentist for your regularly scheduled examinations and cleanings.
Charlotte residents trust their smiles to Southview Dentistry. If you live in the area and need a dentist, call today to schedule an examination and cleaning.