By now, we all know the basic recipe for healthy pearly whites, including regular brushing and flossing, and a diet rich in teeth-healthy foods. What we might not realize is how some food choices can contribute to the wear and tear of teeth.
So, what makes a food bad for your smile?
In general, foods that are both sugary and sticky are not really great for the teeth.
We all heard about sugary food. Bacteria living in the mouth burn sugars in order to live. The byproduct of this burning is acid, which dissolves tooth enamel and causes cavities
And when foods are sticky, they stay on the teeth longer, which gives a greater chance for bacteria to burn the sugars and do all the evil things that they do.
Acidic foods can also be bad for the teeth, as they could potentially damage the tooth enamel. This means foods and drinks that are both acidic and sugary (like soda), add up to double trouble for teeth.
Saliva is great at helping to naturally wash the mouth of little food particles and can keep food from sticking to teeth, so anything that stalls saliva production — including some medications that facilitate dry mouth — isn’t ideal for tooth health either.
It’s important to note that some of the foods listed below aren’t necessarily bad for health — such as dried fruits — but dental health experts encourage teeth brushing or mouth rinsing after consumption to help prevent decay.
7 Foods That You Want To Brush After Eating
1. Dried Fruits
While dried fruits may be a definite step up from processed fruit snacks, they are still sticky and high in sugar. That means they not only adhere to teeth easily, but the sugar feeds the bacteria in the mouth, which can promote dental erosion.
Regular fresh fruits don’t typically have this problem because — even though they still have sugar — chewing them up promotes saliva and they don’t stick to the teeth.
Fruits are generally pretty safe because they’re good for overall health and they’re chewy, so your average fruit has some substance to it and we chew through it, causing us to salivate more. Saliva is a good thing because it has washing action and it’s a natural buffer to acid.
2. Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks, such as sodas and sports drinks, are especially bad for teeth when sipping for long periods of time.
“If I have a soft drink or sports drink and I’m sipping it every 20 minutes, my teeth are getting bathed with a constant layer of acid,” Messina says who is a D.D.S., consumer adviser for the American Dental Association. “So sitting down and drinking it all at once, or with a meal, is better than snacking or sipping throughout a meal.”
For this reason, we suggest that parents don’t fill their kids’ sippy cups with sugary drinks, since kids, whose teeth are still developing, tend to sip at those drinks over long periods of time.
3. Hard Candies
For the same reason sipping on sodas all day is bad for teeth, hard candies aren’t ideal for oral health. These sweets pack a double whammy in that they not only stick to the teeth, but they also linger in the mouth for a long time as you wait for them to dissolve.
You may not realize it, but alcohol can be bad for the teeth, as it causes natural saliva production to decrease, according to the Yale Medical Group. And again, saliva helps to wash away food particles and provides a buffer against acid.
People who are alcoholics may experience dental and gum disease since alcohol irritates all the soft tissue in the mouth and it decreases the amount of natural saliva.
In terms of the tissue, the skin of the mouth is very delicate and the alcohol is corrosive to the gums, cheeks and skin. It can affect the way the tissue cells divide, which is why people who drink heavily have a greater chance of getting mouth or throat cancer.
5. Citrus/Acidic Foods
Foods high in acid, such as citrus or tomatoes, can promote tooth decay, especially when eaten alone. But these foods are fine to eat so long as you flush your mouth with water after consuming them in order to buffer the acid.
Citrus not only has acid, but also sugar — and people who have a habit of sucking on lemons or limes are actually harmfully bathing their teeth in acid.
If you look in their mouths, their teeth have a shiny, glossy surface — that’s from constant bathing with the acids. They will have almost a peculiar look in that you’ll see it on the front surfaces of their teeth, but not the back sides of the lower front teeth because those are under the tongue — and the tongue protects the surface of teeth.
6. Starchy Foods
Starchy foods, such as potato chips and white bread, easily get trapped in teeth, which can then feed the bacteria that make up plaque.
Not only do drinks like coffee and tea stain the teeth, they also make the teeth stickier — meaning more food particles can latch on.
Keeping Our Patients Safe During This Unprecedented Time:
Under the guidance of the BC Provincial Health, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC and the BC Dental Association, we have implemented strict new clinic standards and safety measures in order to help protect our patients and staff, which include:
- Pre-screening all patients for COVID-19 prior to accepting in-person appointments.
- Providing hand sanitizing stations and following strict hand hygiene protocols.
- Increasing the frequency of sanitization of high-touch areas and surfaces.
- Limiting the number of people in the clinic at one time and practicing physical distancing protocols.
The health & safety of our patients has always been our top priority. We encourage everyone to stay safe and to follow the directions of Health Canada and your local health authorities.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us! Great thanks for your understanding and support!
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family.
Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at email@example.com to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!