11 Mar Some foods you may think are healthy but can cause issues for your teeth
Some foods we all know are obviously bad for your teeth like lollies but there are plenty of foods that we think of as ‘healthy’ that can cause dental decay.
Did you know that its not so much how much sugar you eat, but rather how often you eat it, that causes concern for your teeth. Every time you eat, the food you eat breaks down and leaves a sugary residue on your teeth. So if you eat sweets or any food that breaks down to sugar regularly, without brushing or rinsing afterwards, you are soaking your teeth in sugar.
If you cant brush shortly after eating, rinse your mouth with water and then chew on a sugar free gum. The reason it is recommended to chew is that chewing simulates your mouth to produce saliva which is your body’s natural defence system. Your saliva helps protect your teeth by washing away food and sugar from on your teeth and in between your teeth. It also helps to remineralise your teeth.
Here are some foods and drinks that you may think are ‘healthy’ but can cause issues for your teeth.
Lemon in your water…
Some people add lemon to their water which they then sip throughout the day. This may have some health benefits but it is a nightmare for your teeth. The acid from the lemon can erode the enamel on your teeth making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
Lollies and especially sour lollies. We all know lollies and sugar generally is bad for our teeth but sour lollies are double trouble. The sugar, plus the acid used to make the lollie sour, will erode the enamel on your teeth. If you need a sweet treat, chocolate is the best option as it melts away and does not leave so much sticky residue on your teeth, as gummy or chewy lollies and treats do.
Fruit juice and sports drinks – these are bad for your teeth again due to their high sugar content, high acid levels and often they are sticky so they literally soak onto the teeth. It is even worse if you drink these drinks during a half time break and then put your mouthguard back in your mouth as your saliva can not reach your teeth to rinse your mouth.
Tomato pasta sauce – this may sound health but the combination of the often sugary sauce and the acid in the tomatoes is very bad for your teeth. When you eat it on white pasta, this sticks even more readily to your teeth and in between your teeth.
Soft, white bread – soft white bread not only sticks to your teeth but it breaks down very quickly into sugar.
Ice cubes – how can ice be bad I hear you say? Its only water, right. Well, it is fine if you use it to chill your drink but if you chew on it or crunch it in your teeth it can cause cracks and chips to your teeth. Just don’t bite it!
Alcohol and wine – oh yes, they are really bad for your teeth. Especially if you sip for hours. If you cant (or don’t want to) reduce your consumption, have a glass of water between drinks and after your last drink. Don’t brush your teeth straight away, wait around 30 minutes after your last drink before brushing, otherwise you will scrub the enamel off your teeth
Dried fruit – you may think this sounds healthy but dried fruit is full of sugar, and it is sticky so it clings to your teeth for hours after you have eaten it. If you do eat dried fruit, rinse with plenty of water afterwards. Better still, eat fresh fruit instead.
The best thing to do if you eat these foods is simply to rinse well with water afterwards, chew sugar-free gum or brush after 20 – 30 minutes. And seeing your dentist regularly will ensure that they catch any issues or potential issues early before they need treatment.