It’s common knowledge that chocolates, lollies and soft drinks are bad for your teeth. However, there are many other foods and beverages that can be just as damaging, which we generally don’t think of as harmful. Certainly, I have been caught by surprise on several occasions by things that look innocent enough. Foods that are considered healthy for the body, might not be good for your teeth.
Here is a short list of some of the more surprising culprits:
- Foods that contain starch, a type of carbohydrate, will break down into sugars. The bacteria in your mouth reacts with sugar to produce acid that erodes your enamel. Bread, crackers, and potato crisps are just a few of the many foods that contain starch. It is also easy for these foods to become stuck in your teeth. This increases the length of exposure to acid erosion.
2. Citrus Fruits like oranges are inherently acidic. If you aren’t careful, consumption of these fruits can lead to the erosion of enamel. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid citrus fruits all together. There are certainly many health benefits to be had by incorporating them into your diet. We recommend, rinsing your mouth with water to wash away any residue. Water is also basic in nature which helps to reduce acidity. Eating it together with other basic (non-acidic) foods such as cheese, will help to reduce the acidity in your mouth.
It might seem like a good idea to brush your teeth immediately after consuming citrus fruits or soft drinks. However, we recommend waiting around 30 minutes before brushing. The consumption of acidic food and drink leaves the enamel in a weakened state. Immediate brushing can cause additional wear on the vulnerable enamel.
3. Preserved Fruits are high in natural sugars which can cause decay. They also leave a sticky residue in your mouth. Bits and pieces are easily trapped in the grooves of your molars.
4. Milk is generally considered a healthy product for your body and teeth. It contains calcium and is basic in nature which helps to neutralise acidity. However, milk also contains natural sugars which can undermine its benefits. Rather than stop drinking it all together, you just need to be mindful of its sugar content. If it’s present in your mouth for extended periods, it can lead to decay. For example: “milk rot” in babies can happen when bottle fed milk adheres to their teeth for extended periods of time. We recommend practising good habits such as rinsing your mouth with water after consuming milk.
5. Despite the absence of sugar, sugar free soft drinks such as diet coke are still acidic, just like any other soft drink. We recommend avoiding such beverages as they provide little nutritional benefit. But if you must drink them, we recommend using a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.
6. Alcoholic drinks such as wine and beer are also acidic in nature. Additionally, consumption of these beverages causes reduces saliva flow, causing your mouth to become dry. The reduction of this protective saliva leaves your mouth more vulnerable to decay.
W Dental Baldivis believes that patient education is important. We want our patients to enjoy their food but to also practise good oral hygiene habits. If you’re looking for a dentist in Baldivis, we are here to help.