In our last segment, we covered several foods that are great for your dental health. Part two of "You Are What You Eat" will focus on just the opposite- foods that are bad for your dental health! Of course, we'll "never say never" when it comes to most foods, but it would certainly be in your best interest to partake in them sparingly!
Admittedly, dried fruits are much better for you than processed fruit snacks, but you should still brush and floss after eating them. While their healthier counterparts- fresh fruit- stimulate saliva production, dried fruits are sticky and sugary, a double-whammy for your oral health. Not only do they adhere to your teeth, but the sugars break down in your mouth, feeding bacteria and erosion of enamel and gums.
The high sugar content in sodas and sports drinks is even worse when you consider the amount of time it spends lingering in your mouth. People tend to sip on their sodas over a period of time, typically without a meal when they need a pick-me-up. This leads to your teeth being constantly bombarded with sugar and acid which is terrible for teeth! Instead, drink it all at once and brush (or rinse if you're unable to brush), or have it with a meal.
Although it may come as a surprise to some, alcohol can cause extreme wear and tear on your mouth. It causes natural saliva production to decrease, which, as we've discussed, washes away food particles and acts as a buffer between teeth and acid. Heavy drinkers especially may suffer from dental and gum disease as alcohol irritates the soft tissues of the mouth and affects the way the cells divide, leading to a higher risk of mouth and throat cancer.
Starchy foods, such as potato chips and white bread, are high in sugar and also have a high tendency to stick to teeth. There, they are free to break down into sugars feeding the bacteria in your mouth. As always, if you eat these, brush (or at least rinse) as soon as possible after.
Many are surprised by this, but chewing on ice can be really bad for your teeth. After all, it's just water, and water is good for teeth, right? But, just like chewing on hard candy or other hard foods, it leaves your teeth vulnerable to worn-down enamel and other dental emergencies, such as a broken tooth. Enjoy water in its liquid form, or, if you have to chew, get ice that is crushed, like the ever-popular Sonic ice!
As always, moderation is key when it comes to enjoying things that, while tasty, can cause damage to your mouth. Drink plenty of (liquid!) water and remember to brush and floss twice per day to keep cavities and dental damage away. Do you think you may already have some? Schedule a consultation with us today for an exam and x-ray, and we'll answer any questions you may have about your eating habits!