Eating healthy isn't just about watching out for foods that might affect your waistline. You should also be mindful about what foods might be damaging to your teeth. Like most people, you probably already know that sugary foods, such as candy, donuts, and cookies, contribute to tooth decay. But, you might be surprised to know that there is a host of "healthy" foods that aren't so healthy for your mouth.
1. Take Care of Eating Crunchy Snacks
Everyone loves potato chips, but most know that they aren't the healthiest snack. In an effort to reduce fat and calories, some turn to pretzels. However, did you know that when it comes to your teeth, both of these snacks are equally dangerous?
Crunchy snacks, which are made from starches like flour and potatoes, are softened by saliva. This means that as you're eating, debris can become lodged between your teeth and in ridges. If your brushing habits aren't up to par, you may easily miss these spots, allowing bacteria to feast on the food and cause tooth decay. After you eat chips, pretzels, crackers or other crunchy snacks, make sure that you take extra care to floss and brush thoroughly.
2. Watch Out For Sticky Foods
Chewy candies and dried fruit may seem like they are on opposite sides of the food spectrum, but they're similar in more ways than you think. Both contain large amounts of sugar, and both linger in your mouth long after you think they're gone. Whenever food remains on a tooth's surface, it allows bacteria to thrive. As they consume sugars in your mouth, bacteria produce acid. It's this acid that erodes enamel and eventually leads to cavities. It's for this reason that sticky foods like the above mentioned are among the most dangerous for your teeth.
3. Citrus Causes Its Own Problems
Citrus, such as oranges and lemons, are extremely acidic. As a matter of fact, the acid of these fruits isn't much different from the acid produced by the harmful bacteria in your mouth. This means that when you partake in grapefruit or down a glass of lemonade, you are introducing into your mouth the very thing that destroys the enamel.
Does this mean that you should avoid citrus completely? No, because citrus is quite healthy in other ways. What you should do is minimize the amount of time that you allow citrus acid to stay in contact with your teeth. This means drinking that glass of lemonade and brushing your teeth soon after – rather than sipping on it all day.
The balance between choosing foods that are healthy for your body and foods that are healthy for your teeth can be precarious at times. However, always remember that the sooner you get traces of leftover food out of your mouth, the better your oral health will be. (for more information, contact Pastucka Martin J DDS or another dentist)