Drs. Nicolas ASP has compiled a list of foods and drinks that damage your teeth and cause premature tooth decay
27 June 2018| Last updated on 27 June 2018
Everyone knows certain foods are bad for your teeth, and staying steering clear of them seems pretty simple. Most of the foods on our list are here because they’re high in sugar – sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth, creating acid that attacks tooth enamel, eventually causing tooth decay and gum disease.
However, there are a few naughty foods that might surprise you. Read on to check your knowledge!
1. Hard Candy
Crunching on hard candy could break or chip a tooth. The longer sugar is in your mouth, the more damage it can do. Sucking on lollipops and sweets is the worst! If you crave sweet things, it’s better to eat something that’s consumed quickly and doesn’t stick to teeth, like chocolate.
2. Chewing Candy
Almost as bad as hard candy! This version gains its bad reputation because it sticks to teeth, feeding bacteria and creating decay-causing acid for longer. Sour candy is particularly bad, because it already contains acid to create that sour taste.
3. Citrus Fruits
Oranges and lemons contain health-boosting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, with just one orange holding your daily dose of vitamin C. However, they also contain a lot of acid. This is bad news for tooth enamel. So, it’s best to stick to eating whole fruits at mealtimes, with a glass of water to wash it down.
4. Fizzy Drinks
Carbonated drinks contain vast amounts of sugar. Even diet and sugar-free varieties contain phosphoric and citric acid. Did you know that caffeine can also dry out your mouth? A dry mouth means an increased risk of tooth decay, because saliva is a great natural mouthwash, neutralising acid. Really, it’s best to stick to water whenever possible.
Just like hard candy, ice is too hard to eat without risking damage to tooth enamel. Crunching it can chip, crack or fracture teeth. Keep the ice for cold drinks - of the sugar-free variety, of course.
6. Dried Fruit
While containing many health-giving vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, unfortunately these concentrated fruit servings are also very sticky and high in sugar. While chewing on a sultana or date is delicious, stick to a small serving just once a day. And, avoid ‘candied’ fruit altogether, which has simply been coated in an extra layer of refined sugar.
A surprise entry, bread is bad because it contains starch. While this itself isn’t bad news for teeth, starch like to get stuck in-between teeth, where it gets turned into sugar by enzymes in saliva. It’s best to opt for whole meal or brown breads which contain less refined ingredients (much better for you anyway) and which take more time to break down into sugars. By the time that’s happened, the bread should be on its way to your stomach.
Another surprise entry, white pasta contains refined carbohydrate which, like bread, converts into sugar very quickly. This feeds the bacteria in your mouth, creating tooth-destroying acid.
We all know that tea and coffee stains teeth, but did you know it can also damage your teeth in other ways? It’s mainly because of the sugar that many of us can’t resist adding to our daily cup. Coffee also sticks to your tongue, causing the well-known coffee breath!
Certain drinks contain ingredients that dry out your mouth, and alcoholic drinks make this list. While not actively promoting tooth decay (except of course for the many that contain sugar), a lack of saliva in the mouth can cause dental problems in the long-term.
Popped corn can be a really great healthy snack. However, you also need to watch out for hard pieces of un-popped corn. These can chip and fracture teeth if you are unlucky and bite too hard. Also, keep popped corn free of sweet toppings, which are bad for your waistline as well as your teeth.
For more information and regular updates, please visit Drs. Nicolas & ASP.