In the quest for strong and healthy teeth that are free from cavities, we all understand the importance of brushing our teeth and protecting them in other ways such as using mouthwash and flossing. However, the types of foods and drinks that we consume, as well as the time of day that we consume them, can also have an effect on our teeth. Here is a selection of foods and drinks that can hurt your teeth, some of which might surprise you.
While most people are aware of the harmful effects of sugar on their teeth, this savory snack can actually do more damage to the teeth than sweets and candy. This is because the starch in potato chips is turned to sugar in the mouth and can easily become trapped between the teeth to feed bacteria in plaque.
In addition to the large amounts of sugar that is present in alcohol, it harms the teeth by drying out the mouth. Saliva plays an essential role in keeping the teeth healthy by washing away food particles and preventing food from sticking to the teeth. In addition, saliva can help to repair tooth decay and other types of oral infections such as gum disease. Therefore, people who consume alcohol should take care to drink plenty of water, especially before going to bed.
While chewing ice may seem like the perfect way to fight dehydration, this hard substance can actually damage tooth enamel and cause teeth to become cracked, chipped or broken. People who habitually chew on the ice in their drinks may also find that the crowns on their teeth become loosened over time.
This is another savory food that can be deceptive as the starch is broken down into sugar by the saliva in the mouth and it can easily stick in the crevices between the teeth. The good news is that people who are craving a carb fix can minimize the risk of cavities by choosing whole wheat bread as it is less easily broken down and typically contains less added sugar.
Some people mistake the sour taste from these candies to mean that they contain little or no sugar so that they can snack on them with confidence. However, not only do sour candies contain heaps of sugar, they tend to be chewy and can get stuck in between the teeth. The sour taste actually comes from added acid, which is also bad for the teeth.
While many people turn to fruit such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit as a healthy snack when they want an energy boost, the acid content in the fruit itself and fruit juice tends to erode the enamel on the teeth and make them more prone to decay. Even a small amount of lemon juice squeezed into a glass of water can harm the teeth. The best way to avoid the harmful effects is to only consume fruit at mealtime and rinse the mouth thoroughly with water afterwards.