Halloween is just around the corner, and there’s a lot of talk of candy going about. With the surplus of sweet treats around, it’s important to think about your dental health. Obviously, you shouldn’t eat candy at every meal, but as far as your teeth go, there are some pretty common foods you should be more wary of than a couple of chocolates. Here is a list of 5 non-candy foods that can wreck your teeth:
Sugars exist in many forms. Three of the most common types of sugars you have probably encountered are sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Any and all forms of sugar can cause severe tooth decay. When you consume sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar, producing acids. In turn, these acids dissolve your tooth enamel, causing much wear and tear.
With this in mind, it’s better to limit the number of sugary foods in your diet. The Oral Health Foundation recommends eating sweet foods only at mealtimes, rather than choosing sugar-containing foods as snacks. In this regard, following a diet that is suitable for diabetics can actually benefit your teeth, as these diets are extremely low in sugar. By limiting the amount of sweet food you eat and choosing sensible sugar-free snacking options, you are not only protecting your teeth, but you’re also preventing a slew of other health problems like heart disease and obesity.
An article on Health.com ranks pickles as one of the worst foods for your teeth. Why? Acid — usually vinegar — is central to the pickling process, giving pickles their signature taste. As you already know, acid is detrimental when it comes to oral health.
According to one study that looked at the eating patterns of English teenagers, “pickles were the solid food most closely linked with tooth wear. Eating them more than once a day increased the odds of wear by about 85%.” Keep this in mind when you decide to snack on pickles or feel the urge to drink leftover pickle juice!
Coffee — the beverage that has spawned many controversial studies and opinions. One thing’s for sure though, coffee can stain your teeth like no other food can. The brown stains on your coffee mug are a pretty accurate representation of what prolonged coffee consumption can do to your teeth. In fact, coffee stains are shown to be even more stubborn than tobacco stains and can lead to major discolouration. Over time, coffee-stained teeth are also more sticky and prone to food particles and bacteria.
Switching to using a straw can help prevent staining of teeth as well. However, if you’re drinking sugary drinks still rinse your mouth as the contact point will then be the back molars which are more likely to contract cavities. You could also try some natural teeth cleaning home remedies, like putting bananas on your teeth to reduce staining.
You may not be able to give up your morning cup of joe, remember to gargle thoroughly after you’re done with your coffee. Make sure you’re brushing correctly and regularly — a minimum of twice a day.
Even though sports drinks might give you that much-needed energy boost, constant consumption can really damage your teeth. Sugar is a major component of these drinks, and so it stands to reason that they would wear your teeth down. Experts as Espire Dental state that, “Besides sugar, pH is also a very large factor in how these beverages break down tooth enamel. Keep in mind that enamel starts to break down at a pH lower than 5.5, and most sports drinks average a pH of somewhere around 3.”
While water is the best alternative, there are times when you may simply want that sporty boost. During these times, ensure that you swish water in your mouth after every sip to minimize the risk of dental damage.
Crunching ice might be fun, but it’s one of the worst things you can do to your teeth. Because of its cold temperature and brittleness, chewing on ice can lead to tooth fractures. In time, these tiny ice-caused cracks on your surface enamel could spiral into serious dental problems. Thus, ice cubes fall into the category of foods that put unnecessary stress on your teeth, alongside popcorn kernels and fruit pits. A good rule of thumb is to use ice only for cooling, not chewing!
General Dental Health Tips
These 5 foods can wreck your teeth more than a few pieces of candy. Ensure that you consume them in moderation and always follow a proper aftercare routine when you do. Remember, no matter how careful you are, you should get regular dental checkups to prevent later problems. It’s no secret that dental work can be painstakingly expensive and the bills can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. Dental checkups make for good preventative care and can save you money in the long run.
Remember to check to see if Medicaid covers any dental services in your state. This resource provides detailed guidance on possible dental coverage under Medicaid depending on the state you live in. Taking advantage of Medicaid-covered services can ensure that your oral health is taken care of without breaking the bank.
Other easy tips to ensure good dental health include drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after every meal. Water helps neutralize the mouth’s pH, as well as rinses the mouth of any leftover food particles. In turn, this helps maintain oral hygiene and prevents decay from impurities.
The Oral Health Foundation adds that chewing gum stimulates saliva production in your mouth, which helps neutralize acid after eating. Chewing gum after a meal can help prevent tooth decay, but only in the case of sugar-free gum. Remember, ordinary gum has sugar, and so might damage rather than protect your teeth. Be sure to check the gum packaging for ingredients before you buy it. Orbit White & Trident White are the most popular whitening & sugar-free chewing gum flavours.
Ultimately, a healthy diet that is low in sugar and acidic foods is best for your dental well-being. Choose foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, and limit your snacking tendencies between meals. These tips should help you keep your teeth clean, and free from dental damage!