6 Common Foods and Drinks That Promote Damage to Your Pearly Whites
We’re all guilty of the occasional unhealthy food or drink indulgence. While we have an understanding of how these savory vices can take a toll on our health, there are certain foods and drinks that can damage your teeth, as well. Not to mention that the long-term effects of consuming these oral health culprits can be on display during your next dental exam.
At Acosta Dental Arts, we like to remind our North Palm Beach and surrounding area clients of the importance of choosing foods and drinks that don’t pose significant threats to their oral health.
If your diet is heavily dependent on any of these foods, it may be time to visit your dentist to check for any potential damage to your teeth.
What Foods/Drinks Should You Stay Away From?
When we think of tooth damage, many of us don’t both to consider how our everyday dietary choices play a role. However, some of our most common food choices can influence this damage significantly.
Ice: Chewing ice puts a great deal of pressure on your teeth and can wear down enamel, leaving you with chipped or cracked teeth over time. This can also weaken and expose the dentin, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. If you have veneers or fillings, you could risk damaging your dental work and may have to revisit these dental procedures.
All things citrus: Citrus fruits and drinks are an excellent source of vitamin c and promote a healthy diet—they even help maintain collagen in your gums. However, too much of it can take a toll on your pearly whites. An overload of citrus consumption can soften your tooth enamel. Fruit juices, especially, are concentrated, which increases exposure to enamel erosion and can lead to tooth decay.
Alcohol: There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink every now and then. When you go a little too booze happy, you’re putting your teeth at risk for elevated levels of plaque, stains in your teeth (if you’re mixing colored juices or soda with your liquor) and permanent tooth loss. Drinks that are high in alcohol content also dry the mouth, which makes you more susceptible to tooth decay. Most importantly, excessive alcohol consumption can actually pose a long term threat on your oral health and is the second most common risk of oral cancer.Instead, stick to the recommended alcohol intake of one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men and be sure to brush and floss in-between.
Hard/chewy candy:Controlling a sweet tooth can be hard, but think of how much harder it would be to sport a less-than-appealing smile as a result. Candy, both hard and chewy, lingers in your teeth long after it’s been consumed (the latter obviously sticking to your teeth for longer). This is basically an open invitation for bacteria to burn the lingering sugar in your teeth and convert it into acid—an element that erodes the protective layers of the tooth. Certain hard candies contain the presence of citric acid for flavoring purposes, which has been previously known to cause significant erosive potential.
Foods high in carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates, such as breads, pastas, crackers and chips, contain starch that breaks down into simple sugars. Much like the effects of consuming candy, bacteria feeds on these sugars and produce acids that lead to tooth decay and damage.
Soda: The sugars found in your favorite soft drink have the power to lower the pH levels in your mouth and contain high levels of citric and phosphoric acids. The carbonation in sodas contain carbonic acid. Together, this super-team of acids cause erosion of the enamel barrier on your teeth. You’re also at risk for cavities, plaque and an unpleasant yellowing of the teeth. An occasional cup of soda won’t cause immediate yellowing, but be sure to maintain proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to help keep your teeth clean.
A Healthy Smile Begins With Healthy Choices
Treating yourself to the occasional chilled fruit juice, or your favorite candy, won’t cause tooth damage overnight. Not sure if your food or drink choices are threatening the quality of your smile? At Acosta Dental Arts, our Free Smile Assessment can help determine the presence of oral health conditions–such as tooth decay, tooth discoloration, cavities and plaque–which can often be triggered by certain elements of your diet. Contact us today at 561-622-0301 to schedule your appointment and learn more about the diet choices you can make to sport a healthy smile year-round.