Did you know that nearly all adults (about 92 percent of them) ages 20 to 64 have cavities? That’s an alarming number! What you eat really does matter for many reasons, especially for your teeth. We all know by now that sugar is bad for your teeth and promotes tooth decay, but there are other foods that promote tooth decay. These might surprise you. Let’s take a look!
Sugary candies are not great for your teeth. They coat your teeth in sugar and unless you brush it away, your teeth are literally swimming in it all day. The same goes for soda. A can of soda has an alarming amount of sugar in it. By drinking it, you are doing the same thing—coating your teeth in it. When sugar stays on your teeth for long periods of time, bacteria use the sugar as fuel. As the bacteria burn the sugar, they produce acids that wear away your tooth enamel, and the bacteria also form hardened plaque over time. Additionally, sodas, even diet sodas are acidic, and that acid also wears away your enamel. Dentists advise that if you have to have a soda, drink water afterwards to help rinse your teeth and mouth. The same is true of sports drinks. These beverages might sound healthy but they too have lots of sugars.
Some sticky foods like dried fruits are healthy, but they can wreak havoc on your teeth. All fruit has sugar, even when dried. Stickier fruits like apricots and dates can stay on your teeth and cause the same damage that sugar can. If you eat these foods, rinse or brush after your snack, and don’t forget to floss!
How can crunchy foods harm your teeth? They might seem fairly safe to eat, but crunchy foods do create some issues. For example, potato or tortilla chips are pure carbs which means they are filled with starch. When you eat chips, the saliva and chip mixture creates a starchy coating for your teeth. Again, they’re okay to enjoy, just rinse and brush afterwards.
Acids erode enamel and citrus fruits and drinks like lemonade can do damage over time. Enamel begins to erode and over time the erosion makes teeth more susceptible to decay. Rather than drinking straight lemonade or grapefruit juice, try water with a squeeze of lemon. You get that lemony goodness, but it’s mostly water you’re drinking, which is far better for your teeth in the long run.