The 5 Worst Foods For Your Oral Health
What many patients don’t realize is that what they eat affects their oral health regardless of how well they brush their teeth. The food we eat isn’t just about pleasing our taste buds; food is what fuels our body. Also, it can play either a positive or negative role in our oral health. This is one of the many health benefiting reasons that a health-conscious diet is a vital part of a long and healthy life.
At Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental, we see our role as your family’s dental care providers as an educational role too. We like to think we went to dental school so that you don’t have to. We believe sharing our knowledge is what helps us all achieve a healthier, happier life. This is why we’ve put together an easy guide to the five worst foods for your oral health. While we understand many of the items listed below are delicious and hard to stay away from, we believe the right key to healthy living is in moderation. So we’re not saying “you should never eat this,” we’re simply letting you know it shouldn’t be something you consume too regularly.
Large Quantities of Acidic Foods
We’d be lying if we didn’t admit we love starting a morning off with a grapefruit, which is a healthy choice. However, excessive amounts of acidic foods can be harmful to your oral health, as well as your throat. Too much exposure to acid can erode tooth enamel, which will cause a patient’s teeth to be more susceptible to decay over time. We recommend limiting your acidic food intake. However, we don’t recommend you completely remove it from your diet. When you do consume an acidic food, it is best to drink water after. This will flush some of the acids away from your teeth.
Dried Fruits & Fruit Strips
As healthy as dried fruits might seem, they can cause havoc in your mouth! The truth is, dried fruits are full of sugar. Fruits naturally contain a large amount of sugar, but part of the process to create dried fruits is to add even more. The other issue is that dried fruits are sticky! So sticky that they often get stuck in between people’s teeth. This mix of sugar and stickiness is the perfect recipe for cavities. While they taste delicious, these are treats we recommend only consuming occasionally. If you do eat some of these sticky snacks, we suggest brushing your teeth after.
Of Course, Candy
Candy typically consists of mostly sugar, which is exactly what the bacteria in your mouth feed on. This feeding is ultimately responsible for plaque, and tartar builds up, as well as cavities. For this reason, we recommend limiting your candy intake. On top of that, the consistency of candy can also increase your risk of tooth damage. Similarly to dried fruits, sticky candies can get stuck between your teeth creating sugary deposits. (This is ones of the main reasons for cavities in children.) Hard candies are commonly known for inflicting damage to teeth as well. We have seen many patients over the years who have chipped or broken teeth biting into hard candies and sweets.
Crunchy Chips & Popcorn
Two of the least notorious cavity-causers are chips and popcorn. The truth is, these snack foods are two of the most commonly stuck foods between teeth. We’ve all experienced the stuck, uncomfortable popcorn kernel at the movies. However, not all of them are wedge uncomfortably. In fact, it is very common for them to get stuck and go unnoticed for hours (unless they are visible and you have nice friends). This is exactly why chips fall into this category. We love chips because they crunch! However, that is precisely the problem. When a chip crunches, it can break up into a hundred or more pieces. Many of these pieces being tiny and in some cases microscopic. Those little pieces are the ones you need to be worried about. Again, these are tasty snacks in moderation, but please brush your teeth directly after.
Food is something we eat every day, multiple times per day! At Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental, we believe eating should be a fun and sometimes educational experience. This is why we try to share the latest information on foods and how they affect the oral health of our patients. For more information on the effect of foods on your oral health or to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us today.