We know that brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly are all important to maintain oral health. But your diet also plays a bigger part than you might expect. Dr. Greg Reece of Dentistry of the Queen City, a dentist in Charlotte, NC, lists some foods you should avoid or limit to maintain your oral health.
Chewy candy is a given because it gets stuck in between teeth. But hard candy isn’t an ideal substitute for your sweet tooth. Though it doesn’t get stuck in the teeth, it releases sugar into your mouth the entire time it’s dissolving. Harmful oral bacteria feed on that sugar and emit an acidic byproduct that eats through tooth enamel. This is what causes problems with tooth decay and cavities.
But that’s not the only danger of hard candy. If you bite down at the wrong angle or before the candy is dissolved enough, you may need emergency dentistry. Biting down can chip or crack a tooth. If you luck out, it may just be cosmetic. But it can quickly become an emergency with a painful break that takes a large chunk of your tooth.
Fruit is typically a good opportunity for you to quench your sweet tooth. But stick to the fresh variety. Dried fruit is often consistent with chewy candy and gets stuck in the teeth easily. It becomes more concentrated with sugar throughout the drying process and loses nutrients. When it’s all said and done, it doesn’t contain more benefits than that chewy candy you know to avoid.
These are often used as a workout tool or as a healthier option than soda or energy drinks. Be sure to read the nutrition labels before you make your choice. Sports drinks often contain as much or more sugar as the drinks you’re trying to avoid. Citric acid is also used as a flavoring in many sports drinks. The combination of sugar and acid is especially bad for your teeth.
Crackers and Chips
These salty snacks don’t bring sugar and tooth decay to mind. But these starches break down into sugars as you chew and digest. Chips fracture and small pieces get stuck between your teeth while crackers form a paste that settles into the crevices of your molars. Just be sure to rinse your mouth with water after snacking.
Coffee and Tea
While natural coffee and tea aren’t as bad, the biggest problem is the sugar and syrups that are commonly added to these now. On their own, dark beverages can stain your teeth over time, leading to a need for teeth whitening. But the sugary Starbucks concoctions you get in the drive-thru can mean tooth decay and serious dental issues. Learn more about teeth whitening here.
Visit Your Dentist in Charlotte, North Carolina
Make sure your diet isn’t wreaking havoc on your oral health. Call us or schedule a checkup online.