If you were to guess which foods were the worst for your teeth, your mind would probably first go to sugar. Then you’d have visions of all the deliciously sweet treats you were warned about as a kid… cookies, candy, ice cream, and the list goes on.
Our parents warned about what too much sugar would do to our teeth when we were little. But are there other foods that could cause many of the same dental problems like tooth decay and cavities?
Actually, there are! Today, we’re taking a look at some of the more surprising smile spoilers that could be slowly damaging your teeth and gums. Once you know more about how your diet could affect your smile, you’ll be able to take better care of it!
But don’t forget that you always have Dr. Crouse and our team at Precise Dental of Houston to help you achieve good oral health!
There is every reason to enjoy citrus, especially during the hot summer months. A plump grapefruit for breakfast or a splash of lemon or lime in your post-workout water can be incredibly flavorful and refreshing.
But fruits like grapefruits, limes, lemons, and oranges are all very acidic, which means they do some serious damage to your teeth if you’re not careful.
The problem with highly acidic foods has to do with your tooth enamel. Just like the acids created when plaque bacteria feeds off of sugar you eat and drink, citrus acid eats its way through your tooth enamel.
This leaves your smile vulnerable to dental problems like stains, decay, cavities, and infections. You don’t have to avoid these fruits entirely, especially since they contain so many beneficial vitamins and nutrients. But it would help to rinse your mouth with water after you eat them, or brush and floss if you can!
After the failed low-fat diet craze, it was all about cutting the carbs. And boy is that tough! You find refined carbohydrates in almost all of your favorite snack foods!
If your waistline weren’t already enough of a motivation to steer clear of chips, crackers, and cookies, you can add your smile to the list of carb victims!
In as short as twenty minutes, those carbs have time to break down into sugar, feed plaque bacteria, and create enamel eroding acid in your mouth. Not long, right?
You could try to avoid these foods, but given our fast-paced culture, it can be really challenging to avoid all the refined carbohydrates in our favorite convenience foods. Just be sure to keep your teeth as much as you can if you’re about to chomp on the chips!
Peanut butter? Say it ain’t so!
The truth is that sticky foods, like peanut butter, aren’t doing your teeth and gums any favors. Remember the last time you had peanut butter? It can take quite a bit of work to get it cleared away just during the eating process.
And let’s be realistic. We don’t all brush our teeth after our lunch break. So peanut butter can stick around (you’re welcome!) and give all the bad bacteria extra feasting time. This will only lead to more acid, and you know where that leads!
If you’re an athlete or someone who enjoys staying physically fit, you may keep sports drinks on hand when you need to replenish quickly during games or workouts. The problem, though, is that sports drinks can be even worse for your teeth than soda!
Not only do they contain added sugars, but they’re also highly acidic. This combination is the perfect smile spoiler because of the effects it can have on your tooth enamel and the risk it poses for decay, cavities, and even gum disease.
Our advice is to stay hydrated with water, instead, and boost electrolytes with fresh fruit instead of the sports drinks.
Perhaps we’ve given you enough bad news for one day. But your smile will reap all the benefits of your well-balanced diet and your clean teeth and gums!