With regular brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet, this should be enough to increase the lifetime of our teeth as they endure the test of time… right? Then, why do so many people have problems with cavities or fractured teeth when it comes to eating certain foods?
According to the American Dental Association, it is the bacteria living in the mouth and what we eat that causes so much conflict for people. Normal bacteria from the mouth must burn sugars to stay alive. This byproduct creates acid, which dissolves tooth enamel and weakens the tooth which promotes tooth decay. Foods that are sugary and sticky tend to naturally stay on the teeth longer. This gives bacteria in the mouth a greater chance to wear down the tooth’s natural structure.
Here are some foods to be aware of according to your dentist:
Hard candies may seem harmless, but the risk of chipping or breaking a tooth is very high. They can create micro-fractures in the tooth structure which leads to larger fillings and eventually a crown. Remember, they’re called jawbreakers for a reason. Sticky candies like caramel and taffy can also fall into this group as they tend to set into the small cracks and crevices of your teeth as they allow the bacteria to feast leisurely on the sugars. And don’t forget to add ice to this category. Who doesn’t like to chew on ice once in a while? Well, the truth is that ice is hard and cold at the same time… two of the things that aren’t very friendly to your teeth!
This is a category that can be split into many levels:
- Energy Drinks
- Sports Drinks
There is a lot of sugar and acids found in carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Some of the ingredients that are found in these contain phosphoric and citric acid. Every time you take a sip, you are literally bathing your teeth in acid, continually lowering the pH in your mouth, and allowing more time for bacteria to feast on sugars. Coffee, tea, alcohols, and wine contain high tannin levels that promotes staining and erosion of the dental enamel and will dry out your mouth. Watch out for these deceiving little beverages and reach for a bottle of water when you need a drink.
Over time, the enamel can be etched off of a tooth due to the pH level in citrus. When the enamel is lessened, you can experience yellowing of the teeth and sensitivity. The highest levels of acidic fruits are lemons and grapefruit.
The list can go on and on about which starchy carbohydrates are not good for your teeth. White bread, saltine crackers, and potato chips top the list on what to watch for. Also stay away from processed carbohydrates. These types of foods can easily get trapped in the micro cracks of your teeth, create plaque and tartar along the gum line, and instigate dental caries.
Visit Your Dentist
Now that you know what foods can trigger cavities, it’s probably time for you to make an appointment and have your dentist check your teeth and gums. A check-up takes no time at all as your dental professional will check the overall health of your mouth.
Ongoing research has proven that if you keep your diet well balanced with fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, these foods and their nutritional value will build strong teeth. Healthy foods are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that strengthen your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.