5 Foods That Do Major Damage to Tooth Enamel
We all know that certain foods, like coffee and tea, can stain our teeth. And most of us understand that even with brushing, flossing, and rinsing, the foods and beverages we consume can still upset our oral health. Of course, going for a dental check-up and cleaning every six months can certainly help to counteract any potential dental issues associated with your diet. And with so many whitening products on the market and treatments intended to make your teeth look better (veneers), you hardly need to worry about any damage you may cause to your teeth with the foods you eat. Right? Well, the truth is that you’re probably better off keeping your natural teeth as healthy as possible if you want to avoid serious problems, extensive dental work, and massive bills later in life. And that really starts by finding ways to sustain the protective covering on your teeth: the enamel. So here are just a few damaging foods you may want to avoid.
- Soda. Soda is perhaps the biggest enemy of your enamel for several reasons. First of all, it’s packed with processed sugars that cling to your teeth and act as a food source for bacteria. As bacterial colonies grow in your mouth they can find their way into cracks, crevices, and below the gumline, areas you can’t easily reach to clean. This can lead to plaque and tartar buildup, diseases like gingivitis, and eventually, tooth loss if you’re not careful with your oral hygiene. But soda also contains a lot of acid that attacks your enamel directly. And worst of all, people drink soda like it’s going out of style these days, substituting it for water, milk, and other beverages that are far more beneficial to overall health, including the health of teeth.
- Caramel. Candy in general is a bad idea because of all the processed sugar it contains. But products like caramel that stick to teeth and cling to hard-to-clean crevices can stay right where they are despite your best efforts to clean them away. This is where cavities begin. The problem lies not in the sugar so much as the form it takes in this case. While the sugar in soda may be easily rinsed away with a mouthful of water, the sticky quality of caramel and difficulty of dissolving it means only bad things for your enamel and your oral health.
- Citrus fruits. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tomatoes, and other foods high in citrus may provide you with myriad vitamins and nutrients, but they can also have a negative impact on your tooth enamel thanks to the corrosive acidity that comes with them. You might use lemons to bleach your nails or your hair (both of which are potentially damaging, by the way), but you definitely shouldn’t try the same trick with your teeth. Wearing away the enamel with acid actually leaves your teeth vulnerable to stains.
- Bleached flour. Any time you reach for white bread (or other starches, for that matter) you might as well be pouring sugar down your gullet. In case you didn’t know, starches convert to sugar when consumed, and the particles that linger in your mouth will do the same. So try to avoid starches (or at least brush, floss, and rinse afterwards) if you’re worried about preserving your enamel and your overall health.
- Chewable vitamins. Vitamin supplements technically aren’t food, but you do ingest them daily and they can definitely damage your enamel. Not only are they high in acidity and sometimes even sugar, but the bits that get ground into crevices in your teeth can take quite a while to dissolve, doing further damage all the while. Of course, you probably don’t want to give up your daily multivitamin, which also happens to contain the calcium needed to strengthen your teeth. So talk to the pros at Marsh Ridge Family Dental & Orthodontics or your local dental office to figure out which foods you need to cut out and how to go about eating the rest so that you have the best chances to preserve your tooth enamel.
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