Good oral health is about more than brushing and flossing your teeth daily. The foods you eat can have a detrimental impact on your overall dental health. Certain foods can stain your teeth, promote plaque and bacteria, and even lead to cavities.
What you eat plays a role in the health of your teeth as well as your gums and mouth.
While it’s important to enjoy your food, enjoy a wide variety of foods and spoil yourself, it’s important to make wise food choices so that your oral health doesn’t have to suffer. Some food options are far worse for your teeth than others, so it’s best to go into every eating scenario armed with this information so that you can make wiser and healthier choices.
Without much further ado, let’s explore which foods are genuinely bad for your pearly whites.
Table of Contents
Don’t Eat These Foods Too Often If You Want Healthy Teeth
These are the foods to avoid. If they happen to be your favorite treats, perhaps it’s time to cut back a little.
If you’re a fan of cakes, cookies, and lollipops, it’s bad news for you. The sugar in these treats dissolves quickly in the mouth, and some even make it hard for saliva to do its work. As a result, tooth decay sets in. Brush your teeth after eating sweet treats and candy to minimize decay.
Many people are chronic chewers, meaning that they simply cannot resist crunching on the left-over ice cubes in their glass. Unfortunately, this causes damage to the tooth’s protective surface. Avoid crunching on ice. If you can’t resist, avoid ice altogether.
Oranges and orange juice
Yikes, now we’re tinkering with your five a day! Unfortunately, oranges and orange juice are highly acidic, wearing at tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. It’s not just orange juice that falls into this category; pickles are one of the bad guys too. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water when eating oranges or drinking orange juice.
If you love to end your day or survive a hot day with a soft drink, that might have to change! Unfortunately, these contain sugar and acid. Even the sugar-free versions have acid, which erodes teeth and leads to tooth. If you absolutely have to drink a soft drink, rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water afterward. Don’t brush your teeth immediately. Acidic food softens tooth structure which means it becomes vulnerable to abrasion.
Sorry, beer and wine lovers! Alcohol is bad for your teeth. First and foremost, most alcoholic beverages are packed with sugar. Certain alcoholic drinks, such as red wine and white wine, can also stain your teeth. In addition to that, alcohol dries out the mouth, making saliva less available. Saliva fends off unhealthy bacteria, but while alcohol dehydrates you, saliva cannot do its work. If you must drink alcohol, it is highly recommended that you drink a full glass of water between each drink.
Pasta Sauce (Tomato-based)
Tomato-based pasta sauces are delicious and considered healthy, but they can also be bad for your teeth because of the acidity levels present. Acidic sauces break down the tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay.
Unfortunately, dried fruits have high concentrations of sugar in them, and because they’re quite chewy and sticky, the food particles can stick to your teeth. If you eat a lot of dried fruit, you have a one-way ticket to tooth decay! If you’re a lover of raisins, dried prunes, figs, and apricots – now might be the time to reduce your intake.
Your morning cuppa!
Whether you’re a tea or coffee fan, the chances are that you’re unaware of the damage your tea and coffee drinking is doing to your teeth. First and foremost, both tea and coffee stain teeth. In addition to that, both drinks are highly acidic. It’s even worse if you add sugar to your hot beverage! It’s recommended to drink no more than one to two cups of tea and coffee per day. And if you’re adding sugar to your drink, you should slowly start to cut back on that – for the sake of your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar
If you’re trying to lose weight and have joined a fitness program, apple cider vinegar probably forms part of your healthy eating plan. It’s known to lower blood sugar, reduce insulin levels, and stave off hunger pangs. Unfortunately, it’s highly acidic and can erode your tooth enamel very quickly. If you must continue drinking apple cider vinegar, add water to it, drink it all at once and then rinse your mouth out. You can also use a straw to try to keep it away from your teeth.
If you’re a cheese and crackers fan, this is probably bad news! Unfortunately, crackers are made of refined carbs. There’s a direct link between body inflammation and refined carbs. And inflammation is the main driving factor behind periodontitis and gingivitis. When it comes to oral health, crackers are not coming out on top!
Top Enemies of Teeth
Healthy teeth have several top enemies – you may have noticed what they are by simply reading through the above list.
- Sugar – this leads to tooth decay and cavities
- Acidity – this has a nasty habit of breaking down the protective surface of the tooth and leaves the tooth vulnerable
- Refined Carbs – these cause inflammation that can lead to gum disease and other dental conditions
Of course, it’s hard to eliminate everything from your diet and live a “tooth-friendly” lifestyle as there seem to be sugar, acid, and carbs in almost everything. The best thing to do is choose whole and fresh foods over processed foods as often as possible. This way, you know that there are no hidden damaging additives. You should also take precautions when eating foods that are bad for your teeth. Brush your teeth after meals or rinse your mouth out with water to give your teeth a better chance – you’ll be doing the right thing for your teeth and overall oral health.