Maintaining a radiant and healthy smile goes beyond brushing and flossing at home and regular dental visits; it’s also about making mindful choices in your diet. What you consume can impact the health of your teeth and gums.
Some foods and beverages can cause more harm than good, leading to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. These can include sugary and acidic foods and drinks, sticky candies, dried fruit, starchy foods, and coffee.
Enamel Erosion & Foods
Enamel erosion is the gradual wear and tear of the protective outer layer of the teeth. The foods we consume can help protect your enamel or contribute to erosion.
There are 2 types of enamel erosion:
- Intrinsic erosion is caused by gastric acid and acid regurgitation due to acid reflux and other medical or psychological issues.
- Extrinsic erosion is caused by foods and drinks that contain acid.
Signs of enamel erosion include:
- Discoloured teeth
- Tooth sensitivity to touch, air, biting forces, and acid exposure
- Transparent teeth edges
Top 10 Foods to Avoid
Certain foods and drinks can make your enamel more susceptible to erosion by creating an acidic environment. Caring for your teeth requires a delicate balance between enjoying the foods you like and preserving the enamel on your teeth. Limiting or avoiding certain foods can help protect your teeth and prevent unexpected dental issues later.
Excessive sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of cavities, so it’s important to watch your intake. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar and produce acids. If your tooth enamel weakens, these acids can lead to cavities, or if plaque hardens and becomes tartar, it can contribute to gum disease. So, while the occasional treat is fine, it’s best to be mindful of how much sugar you consume to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, contain vitamin C and are fantastic for your overall health. However, they’re acidic and can contribute to enamel erosion over time, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. These fruits aren’t off-limits, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how often you consume them to protect your teeth.
Sticky & Sour Treats
Those gooey, sticky, chewy treats might be tempting, but they can stick around on your teeth, giving bacteria a cozy home. Sour candies have various acids that can damage your enamel. So, it’s best to be cautious when indulging in these sweet delights.
Carbonated beverages and sugary drinks are like a tag team of dental mischief. The sugars in these drinks feed bacteria, and the acidity weakens your enamel. The carbonation can dry out the mouth, meaning you have less saliva to wash away the sugars. Dark-coloured pop can also stain your teeth.
Tea and coffee are staples for many people. While these beverages can be delightful, excessive consumption, especially with added sugars, can stain and harm your teeth.
Moderate alcohol consumption is the key. Excessive alcohol intake dries out your mouth, creating a haven for bacteria, but it can also stain your enamel.
The satisfying taste and crunch of chips also have a downside—small pieces of chips can find refuge between your teeth, becoming a feast for bacteria.
Dried fruits are a convenient and seemingly healthy snack but contain concentrated natural sugars and are sticky, making them hard on your enamel.
Tomato sauce and acidic condiments add zest to your meals but can contribute to enamel erosion. Balance is the key; enjoying a refreshing glass of water or brushing after eating can help neutralize the acidity.
Hard Candies & Ice
Hard candies may seem harmless, but when you’re exposed to that sugar for a long time, it becomes a concern. Hard candies and ice can actually harm your enamel and lead to unexpected problems like chipped or cracked teeth, or even loose crowns. So, it’s best to be cautious and mindful of how much you indulge in these treats.
Protect Your Teeth
You can help protect your teeth by eating non-acidic foods and drinks. Foods that don’t contribute to enamel erosion include:
- Green tea
- Potatoes, rice, and yams
- Watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons
- Ripe mangoes, bananas, and papayas
How to Prevent Enamel Erosion
You can help prevent enamel erosion by avoiding or limiting acidic foods and taking the following precautions to maintain healthy teeth:
- Never suck on highly acidic fruits, as acid directly on the teeth can soften the enamel over time.
- Drink juices and sodas with a straw to avoid contact with your teeth.
- Brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating acidic foods, or rinse with water immediately to dilute the acids in your mouth.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel and prevent tooth decay.
- Eating cheese after fruit can help increase the pH levels in your mouth and increase saliva production.
Complete Dental Care for Healthy Teeth
Maintaining good dental health is crucial for your overall health and well-being. When you avoid or limit certain foods and drinks, you can prevent cavities and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist also help keep your teeth healthy. Book your next dental exam and cleaning with Outdoor Dental in Calgary SE today.