You know that sugar can damage your teeth. It is one of the leading causes of cavities, since oral bacteria derive their energy from starches and sugar. However, you may not be aware that other foods can lead to significant dental damage – and they are not the foods you might expect! While it is important to be aware of what you eat, you can still enjoy a wide array of foods. Nevertheless, it is important to practice moderation and to be aware of the best ways to combat harmful foods.
Dental Damage Shockers
Even if you avoid candy and soda, you may unwittingly consume some things that can mar your beautiful smile. Which of the following foods do you eat on a regular basis?
- Citrus: Oranges and grapefruit are full of Vitamin C, but they are also highly acidic. Acid can erode your dental enamel and irritate mouth sores and sensitive gum tissue. While we certainly do not advocate eliminating citrus fruits from your diet, it is also important to limit your intake. For example, your morning grapefruit might be a healthy choice, but do you really need that lemon spritz in every glass of water?
- Dried fruit: Fruit is one of the healthiest things you can eat, but it becomes dentally detrimental once it is dried. Dried fruit can stick to your teeth, meaning the sugar is in contact with your enamel for much longer.
- Coffee: In recent years, scientists have touted the heart benefits of drinking coffee. However, when you add a lot of sugar to your morning joe, it can lead to decay. Additionally, while black coffee won’t harm the structure of your teeth, it is one of the most common causes of discoloration.
- Popcorn: When you eat popcorn, the little bits can get stuck between your teeth. Again, this means that the starch will be in contact with your teeth for a longer time. If you do choose to eat popcorn, be careful when you get to the bottom of the bag. Biting down on an unpopped kernel could crack a tooth.
- Ice: A glass of ice water is not going to hurt your teeth (unless they are sensitive to cold), but chewing on ice can cause cracks and chips.
How to Protect Your Smile
Although you could avoid dental damage by eliminating these foods entirely, in general, it is best to eat a varied and moderate diet. Nevertheless, you can follow a few simple tips to keep your smile bright and healthy. First, if you do indulge in these or other potentially harmful foods, drink plenty of water at the same time. This will help to rinse away acids and food particles. Second, wait about 30 minutes after eating to allow food and acid to be washed away. Then thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. Brushing too soon can actually be detrimental, since it will rub these harmful substances into your enamel. Finally, schedule your biannual cleanings and checkups, so we can help prevent dental damage.
ABOUT YOUR NORTH RICHLAND HILLS FAMILY DENTIST
With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.