We have heard brushing and flossing twice a day is the best way to keep your teeth healthy, but some foods cause enough damage to warrant extra cleaning. Most people know candy and other sugary foods wreak havoc on their teeth, but how about fruits?
Acids naturally occur in many foods, including fruit. Bacteria aren’t necessary to produce acid and cause tooth decay. Instead, acidic foods eat away at the enamel and break down the teeth directly. Generally, one can wash away natural acids by drinking water but brushing soon after consuming acidic foods or beverages can actually cause more damage. Because teeth are porous, brushing softens them and makes them more susceptible to acid. After eating acidic foods, you should wait at least an hour before brushing.
Foods that damage the teeth.
Popcorn: Popcorn is notorious for getting stuck in your teeth, and the areas between your teeth will cultivate more bacteria for that reason. You can treat yourself to a bag of popcorn as long as you rinse with water and remember to floss and brush after.
Meat: This tends to get stuck between your teeth and some meat products contain sugar as a preservative. While the amount may not be very high, any food that sits between your teeth can promote tooth decay. Try chewing sugar-less gum after eating if you can’t brush right away.
Hard candies: Though we probably know the sugar in candy is a problem, hard candies are especially harmful because we tend to hold them in our mouths longer. Also cough drops/ syrup are often made with sugar, so opt for the sugar-free brand if available.
Diet soda: Just because it doesn’t have sugar doesn’t mean your teeth are safe. The acidity of diet sodas is still extremely high, making it one of the worst products for your teeth. Most carbonated soft drinks, including diet soda, are acidic and therefore, bad for your teeth. Caffeinated beverages, such as colas can also dry out your mouth. If you do consume soft drinks, try to drink along with a cup of water.
Pickled vegetable: Pickles are made with vinegar, which is acidic, and often sugar as well. While the vegetables are healthy, the brine can damage your teeth. Drinking water with your meal helps wash away acids and sugar, but remember to brush an hour later.
Apples: Apples are high in acid, and hard on the enamel. While a daily apple may keep the doctor away, the acid might keep your dentist on speed dial. Eating apples is fine, just be sure to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash shortly after.
Jelly: Along with peanut butter, jelly or jam is loaded with sugar and quite sticky. Even the all-fruit brands contain natural sugars and encourage plaque and bacteria if not washed away soon.
Bread: Many breads contain sugar, especially the processed white breads. It’s best to check the labels for any added sweeteners that will breed mouth bacteria. Bread is also sticky and gets between and behind your teeth.
Peanut butter: Are sticky and often made with sugar. Peanut butter not only feeds bacteria but makes it easier for them to adhere to teeth. Look for natural peanut butters with no added sugars to lessen the problem.
Ice: Ice is for chilling not chewing, most people think ice is good for their teeth because it is made of water and not sugar or any other additives but chewing on hard substance can leave your teeth vulnerable to damage to the enamel.
Alcohol: Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. People who drink excessively may find that their saliva flow is reduced over time, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Heavy alcohol use also increases the risk of contracting mouth cancer