What you eat – and don’t eat – can be as important to your daily hygiene as flossing and brushing your teeth regularly. While there are smart food choices that promote healthier, less cavity prone teeth, there are also foods that don’t have your teeth’s best interest in mind.
Here are 7 foods that may not play nicely with your teeth – The Seven Not-So-Good:
- Saltine Crackers – Candy is no longer the king of cavity causing food. It’s now the saltine cracker. Why? Saltines are a simple starch, which the cavity causing bacteria in your mouth love. It’s easy for bacteria to break this food down and then multiply; creating acids that can not only cause cavities, but also bad breath.
- Goldfish Crackers – You can’t just eat one, but, worse yet, they also stick to your teeth, which isn’t good for your oral health, not to mention your smile. Because they linger in your mouth, stuck to your teeth, it becomes a bacteria feast, which leads to the production of more cavity causing acids to attach your teeth’s enamel. Apples, snap peas, carrots, or almonds make a more tooth friendly snack. They don’t stick to your teeth, they help build saliva that can wash away food debris, and they take longer for bacteria to produce acids.
- Sugar Free Soda – It doesn’t have sugar in it, but it can still still wreak havoc on your teeth, especially if you consume diet soda drinks regularly. Sodas are highly acidic, and if you’re sipping sodas throughout the day, these acids can damage the enamel of your teeth. Your tooth enamel is your natural protection from tooth decay, so when acids eat away at it, your teeth become more susceptible to cavities.
- Sports Drinks – To get a better idea as to how acids in energy drinks affect teeth, scientists took common sports drinks and bathed human teeth in each drink. How long did it take for the tooth samples to show signs of decay? 5 days! Try to stay clear of energy and sports drinks altogether, but if can’t live without them drink plenty of water right afterwards to help neutralize the acids.
- Dried Fruits – They are natural, but they can be just as bad, or worse, for your teeth than eating candy. Why? They stick to your teeth, so that the cavity causing bacteria can continue to produce acids long after you’ve finished eating the dried fruit.
- Kombucha – While drinking it does offer some health benefits, such as probiotics, kombucha also offers a high acidity level. To take advantage of its healthy qualities, without damaging your teeth, drink lots of water when you drink kombucha, as this will help flush out some of the acids. You should also wait 30 minutes or more to brush your teeth after drinking it, because the high acidity in this drink can weaken tooth enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to damage caused from your toothbrush.
- Lemon Water – Just as with kombucha, freshly squeezed lemon juice into water or tea may offer some health benefits, but the lemon juice is also highly acidic, which can cause damage to your tooth enamel. Drinking some water afterwards can help flush out some of these acids, and also wait 30 minutes or longer before you brush your teeth.
Just because you may love some of these foods, doesn’t mean you have to quit them. Just be mindful to follow up with a little extra oral hygiene care, like flossing, and brushing, and drinking water to help neutralize acids, and flush out food debris. Adding some healthy foods into your daily diet can also help you keep your teeth healthy, and free of tooth decay. And don’t forget to stay on track with your annual dental preventative care, such as dental exams and teeth cleanings. Regularly visiting your dentist and staying on top of your oral hygiene will truly go a long way to keeping your teeth healthy for life.
Has it been a while since you visited a dentist, please call us at (206) 524-1000 to make an appointment or schedule an exam online.