When it comes to protecting your teeth, twice-daily brushing and flossing and consistent routine dental exams is the way to go. But you may also want to be careful what you put in your mouth. You should already know that sodas and sports drinks are acidic, sugary, or both, and therefore hard on your teeth, and that candy is a major tooth no-no, but did you know that some “healthy” foods can be tough on teeth too? Try to moderate the following foods to minimize risk to your teeth:
• Dried Fruit. Raisins, dried apricots, cranberries, ect… they can be a far more healthful snack option than candy or snack cakes to quell a sweet tooth, but they’re still sticky and high in sugar. Some have added sugars, but even unsweetened dried fruits contain enough natural sugar and a certain type of fiber which can bind and trap the sugar around the tooth. They can actually be as sticky as saltwater taffy! Enjoy them in moderation or opt for the fresh version instead (but keep reading for more about fruit…).
• Acidic Fruits. Although fruits such as oranges, kiwis, and pineapple are great sources of vitamin C, they are also highly acidic. Acid weakens the enamel of your teeth and can open the door for decay or sensitivity from thinning enamel. Enjoy acidic fruits such as citrus fruits in moderation and drink plenty of water after consuming them.
• Sweet Potato Chips. Although healthier than regular potato chips, they can still wreak havoc on your pearly whites. They are starchy and processed, and the bacteria in your mouth treat starches like sugar when digesting. Furthermore, food particles from these starchy carbs tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid-producing bacteria.
• Popcorn. Plain air-popped popcorn itself is healthy, low-calorie, and a whole grain food. But much like chips, popcorn is starchy and can wedge in the grooves and between teeth and encourage bacterial growth. And un-popped kernels are so hard they can potentially break your teeth!
All of the above foods are perfectly fine to eat from time to time, and most of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry enjoy them! But just because they have a reputation as “healthy” snacks does not mean that they should be eaten indiscriminately. Know about how what you eat has an effect on your teeth and you have that much more power to keep your teeth in great shape!