The foods you eat play a huge role in your oral health. Even the strictest flossing and brushing routine will only get you so far if you are consistently eating food that destroys your teeth – and while we all know to stay away from sticky or crunchy candy, some of the most damaging foods might surprise you!
Knowing what types of food to avoid can go a long way in ensuring that your teeth and gums stay healthy for the long term. Let’s look at a few of the most common (and uncommon) foods that actually hurt your oral health.
Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits all have high levels of citrus – which means they also have high levels of acid. When left unchecked, acid can wreak havoc on your mouth. First, it wears away at your enamel (the protective coating surrounding your teeth), heightening tooth sensitivity and leaving your teeth susceptible to decay and cavities.
Second, bad bacteria convert sugar into acid. So if you are consuming high levels of citrus and sugar simultaneously, you are creating the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria to grow.
White bread contains high levels of starch, which sticks to your enamel and gets trapped between the crevices of your teeth. As you chew, your saliva (and the bacteria inside it) converts starch into sugar, creating a paste that can be difficult to remove. That paste can turn into plaque, which eventually turns into tartar, promoting decay and periodontal disease.
Instead of white bread, you can opt for whole wheat bread, which is harder to convert into sugar (but even then, the best practice is still to brush your teeth immediately afterward).
This one can be tough – dried fruit sounds like it would be a healthy snack, but it’s actually extremely detrimental to your teeth. Dried fruit has a ton of natural sugar, which is a problem on its own, but it also has a very sticky consistency. This makes it much easier for dried fruit to get stuck between the crevices of your teeth, leaving pockets of sugar behind for bad bacteria to thrive in.
Whole nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pistachios contain vitamins and minerals that help boost your overall health – but chewing them can create significant problems in your mouth. Their hard, crunchy structure can scratch or even chip teeth if you aren’t careful, so try to buy chopped or sliced versions whenever possible.
Did you know that eating pickles might actually be causing damage to your enamel? The pickling process uses high amounts of vinegar and sugar, supporting bacterial growth and eating away tooth enamel. Once you lose your enamel, it can’t be replaced, which leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay, cavities, and even tooth loss.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene, No Matter What You Eat
Of course, eating the foods outlined above is perfectly fine – as long as you are maintaining proper oral hygiene in the background. If you can’t brush right afterward, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash or drinking a glass of water can go a long way in flushing out harmful acids, sugars, and food particles.
If you want to learn more about other foods to avoid, ask your dentist at your next visit with TruBlu Dentistry! We’ll be happy to help you learn about the best diet to ensure that your smile is as healthy as possible for years to come.