Thanks to the global pandemic, chances are that you’re spending more time at home than ever before. The world may be at a standstill, but it doesn’t mean your dental routine should be put on hold, too.
Prioritizing your dental care has never been more important, and one of the best places to start is with the food you put in your mouth.
Did you know that many foods—even those that are relatively healthy—can damage your teeth? While you shouldn’t avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of the harmful effects they can have on your oral health.
Below are seven foods that could potentially damage or cause your teeth to decay and why you should either avoid them or eat them in moderation only.
1. White Bread
Carbohydrates have been getting a bad rap lately. While carbs are important for a healthy diet, not all carbs are created equally—especially bread. White bread is notorious for being high in sugar, which is bad not only for your waistline, but also for your teeth.
Ever notice how white bread sticks to your mouth (particularly the roof of your mouth) like glue and gets stuck in the pockets of your teeth? Why is this? When you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starch, turning it into a gummy paste in your mouth. This paste can get stuck in many hard-to-reach areas, creating a breeding ground for bacteria that contribute to cavities forming in your mouth.
If you’re craving bread, you’re better off choosing something made of whole grains. While your saliva will also break down other types of bread, you’re less likely to get a gummy paste with tougher, less-refined breads, because they contain less added sugar and are more difficult to break down
2. Starchy Junk Food
For the same reasons that white bread is bad for your teeth and dental care, starchy foods—especially junk food—should also be avoided.
Let’s face it, many of us are spending more hours lounging in front of the TV and binging our favourite shows in an attempt to social distance. Snacking and lounging go hand-in-hand. But not only are these starchy snack foods unhealthy, but they can also affect the enamel on your teeth.
Despite not being sugary, junk food, like potato chips, contain oils and starches that encourage bacterial growth. Starch also converts into sugar when it’s broken down.
Next time you’re fulfilling a hankering for a starchy snack, make sure to brush your teeth and floss after indulging.
3. Alcoholic Drinks
While there is nothing wrong with the enjoying an alcohol beverage or glass of wine from time to time, the key to protecting your teeth and gums is to enjoy these in moderation.
Alcoholic beverages can make your mouth dry and inhibit the production of saliva. Saliva is an important component in washing away food particles in your mouth and in keeping bacteria balanced.
Alcoholic beverages, like red wine, also tend to stain your teeth and contain high amounts of acid and sugar.
Make sure to brush your teeth after consuming alcoholic beverages, or your pearly whites may not be so white for very long.
4. Acidic Fruits
When people think about foods that are bad for their teeth, fruit isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. After all, fruit is healthy for you, right?
Fruits, such as strawberries and oranges, are full of healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and fibre, but they are also acidic and full of sugar, which could erode your tooth enamel.
When enamel erodes, there’s nothing you can do to fully restore it. Without strong enamel, you might be more susceptible to cavities or tooth sensitivity.
While it’s still important to eat fruit for a well-balanced diet, you should be mindful of what the acid could do to your teeth and exhibit proper dental care. Make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly or rinse out your mouth with water after eating acidic fruits like strawberries, lemons, and grapefruit to prevent the acid from sitting on your teeth and damaging the enamel.
Much like fruit can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel, pickles can have the same effect. All pickled foods use vinegar, which is high in acid that could weaken your enamel. Even sweet pickles, while not as acidic as dill pickles, are still risky. Sweet pickles are also full of sugar, another culprit in weakened tooth enamel.
The good news is that brushing or rinsing after eating acidic foods can help minimize the risk of tooth decay. If that’s not an option, you could opt for a piece of sugar-free gum that contains xylitol to neutralize the acid from the pickles.
6. Sugary Drinks, Coffee, and Tea
We all know that sugary sports drinks are a no-no. Not only are they the leading source of added sugar in the food industry, but they also contain phosphoric and citric acids (remember how citrus fruits can erode your enamel?), which are horrible for your teeth. On top of that, sports drinks are also coloured, which could potentially stain your teeth.
Coffee and tea could also stain your teeth over time. Both can also cause bacteria growth in your mouth and erode your tooth enamel, as well as lead to halitosis (bad breath).
7. Hard Candies and Gummies
Unlike many of the other foods on this list, where there are health benefits to consuming them, eating hard candies and sweets should always be avoided.
For one, you could potentially crack a tooth when biting into hard candies or get pieces of candy or gummies stuck to the surface of your teeth. Since these sticky bits take a while to dissolve thoroughly, they promote the growth of bacteria, which could lead to cavities.
Secondly, gummy candies are full of non-soluble cellulose fibre, which can bind and trap sugars on and around your teeth.
The best thing to do is to avoid candies and gummies, regardless of whether you are in quarantine or not.
Book an Appointment at Princeview Dental
At Princeview Dental Group in Etobicoke, we strive to provide our patients with the best possible dental care. Our experienced and dedicated staff members have a wealth of knowledge and are capable of addressing all of your oral health-related concerns and answering your questions. To learn more about the foods you should avoid during quarantine and how to effectively care for your teeth and gums, schedule an appointment at our dental clinic today!