Dental health doesn’t mean just brushing your teeth twice a day – you also have to pay attention to the food you eat. A diet that is high in fat and calories, such as large quantities of processed foods or sugary foods, is bad for your teeth. Some foods can cause increase teeth sensitivity and cause enamel erosion and porosity, eventually leading to cavities. Here are some items that cause tooth decay:
- Candies: Both chewy and hard candies can negatively impact your teeth. Hard candies dissolve slowly and stay in the mouth for several minutes, while chewy candies stick to the teeth. Both give giving the bacteria enough time to interact with the sugar and destroy the teeth.
- Foods with acidic content: Even when citrus fruits and juices such as lemon and grape fruit are good for your health, they are not good for your teeth as they are highly acidic and can harm tooth enamel. Carbonated soft drinks with phosphoric and citric acids are equally harmful to the teeth enamel as also pickles, honey and wine.
- Starchy foods: The starch in the foods such as pizza, pasta and burgers begins converting into sugar almost immediately when it is chewed and feeds the plaque, the thin, invisible film of bacteria and other materials that covers all the surfaces of all the teeth.
- Alcohol: Saliva is responsible for washing away food particles and protecting the teeth from the effects of acidic foods. Alcohol and some medications dry out the mouth as they suppress the production of saliva, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Dried fruit: The concentrated sugar content and stickiness of dried fruit are harmful as the non-soluble cellulose fiber binds the sugar on your teeth.
- Sugary drinks: Like carbonated beverages, sports drinks are bad for your teeth. In addition to the added sugar, their phosphoric and citric acid content will erode tooth enamel.
Even crackers, coffee, tea, and ice come under the list of foods that are harmful for teeth. Avoiding these foods altogether may be impossible. Follow these tips that American Dental Association (ADA) offers to help reduce tooth-decay risk from the foods you eat:
- Have sugary foods along with your meals as the mouth produces more saliva during meals. This will help rinse your mouth and reduce the effect of acid production
- Don’t’ snack between meals and if you do stick to something nutritious such as fiber-rich fruit which gets the saliva flowing
- Drink more fluoridated water as it can help prevent tooth decay
- Brush your teeth twice and floss once a day
After consuming something sugary or acidic, rinse your mouth thoroughly. Chewing sugarless gum can also help. Cheese, milk and other dairy products and green and black tea help fight tooth decay. Make regular dental check-ups a practice.