There are some obvious foods and drinks that people know are bad for their teeth – but what about the foods like bread, dried fruit and raisins? You may be surprised!
1) Carbonated beverages & other drinks – Soft drinks are a target of nutrition police, because they add so much sugar to your diet. But teeth aren’t safe even for those who stick to diet drinks! Like their sugar-loaded versions, artificially sweetened soft drinks contain tooth-eroding acids, such as phosphoric and citric. Even canned iced teas, which normally might be good for teeth, contain flavor-enhancing organic acids that can erode tooth enamel.
2) Not-so-healthy vitamins – Even so-called health drinks are brimming with danger for your teeth. Sports drinks are notoriously acidic and full of sugar. And vitamin waters can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Chewable vitamins – from multivitamins to large chewable vitamin C tablets – are especially bad, because they contain a concentrated acid that tends to cling to and between teeth.
3) Drinks and medications that dry out your mouth. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, and a common side effect of many medications is dry mouth. If this is the case, be sure your mouth is plaque free, and also drink plenty of water. You should consider talking to us if you suffer from dry mouth. We have many suggestions we can offer.
4) Long-lasting and sticky sweets – It’s not news that caramels and other gooey, sugary sweets are bad for teeth. It’s not just the sugar, though; it’s how long the teeth are exposed to sugar. So while those caramels stick and cling tenaciously to tooth surfaces and crevices, hard candies and lollipops are also very bad; they’re designed for a long, leisurely snack and attack your teeth in the process. This principle applies to any sweets, from candy to sweet drinks –sugar should stay in the mouth as briefly as possible.
5) Dried fruits – While fresh grapes and plums are considered “good” foods, if they are dried, they go from hero to villain. Although often touted as healthy snacks, dried fruits like raisins, prunes and apricots, are similar to caramels. Already sweet when fresh, their sugars are highly concentrated as the water is dried away, and their gummy texture can cling to teeth as much as gooey candy. And worse, the fruit is packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars on and around the tooth, making it worse than candy.
6) Starchy foods – Many starchy foods, including white bread, potato chips, french fries and al dente pasta, can easily become lodged between teeth and in crevices. While they may not necessarily taste sweet, the starches can begin converting to sugar almost immediately, not only by the bacteria, but also by the pre-digestive process that begins in the mouth through the enzymes in saliva.
7) High-acid foods and drinks – Citrus fruits and drinks contain powerful citric acid – in fact, such juice is often used as a cleaning agent. While oranges, lemons and grapefruit can be a healthy part of the diet, they should be consumed quickly, preferably as part of a meal, and the teeth should be rinsed afterward. Sucking on citrus fruits should be avoided; this especially applies to the “home remedy” practice sucking lemon wedges for tooth-whitening.
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