Does it matter which snack, breakfast cereal or beverage you reach for on the grocery shelf? When it comes to your oral health, it can make a big difference. The foods and drinks you select each contain different ingredients, including minerals, vitamins, sugars and acids, each with varying nutritional values and effects on your teeth and mouth. In some, the nutritional value is very low and their ability to cause problems to your oral health is high. The next time you reach for a soda, think twice. It could mean avoiding a cavity, even if you routinely use other good oral hygiene habits.
What Is So Bad?
The problem with some foods or drinks is what they are made of. Carbohydrates break down in the mouth into sugars. Sugar is detrimental for teeth. It works as an acid to slowly harm the enamel on teeth. It can damage the tooth structure. Overtime, this leads to cavities and tooth decay that may be hard to halt. Any type of acid that comes in contact with your mouth has the risk of harming your oral health.
Shoddy Food and Drink
What is the worst of the worst? What should you avoid at all costs? The following foods and drinks are considered the ones to vanquish from your diet:
- Carbonated beverages, including soft drinks, are hazardous thirst quenching choices that endanger your oral health. They have the least nutritional value, and have so much sugar and phosphoric acid that they can begin attacking the teeth within 30 minutes.
- Some drinks labeled healthy or sport drinks can also be poor selections. Many promise health benefits, but also contain acidic and sugary substances that lead to the breakdown of enamel on your teeth. Be careful even with chewable vitamins, if they contain sugar.
- Sticky foods, including caramel candy, sugary sweet breads and other sweet carbohydrates are very unhealthy for your teeth. Their sugars are harder to wash away with saliva, therefore, they stay on your teeth longer, causing damage.
- Foods that dry out your mouth, including alcoholic beverages, can lead to an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. Saliva is necessary for flushing away bacteria, but alcoholic beverages keep your mouth dry.
Other foods to leave on the grocery shelf more often are dried fruits and starchy foods, such as potato chips, bread and fries, as well as highly acidic fruits like oranges and lemons. If you consume them, brush your teeth immediately afterward, or rinse your mouth with water, to reduce their effects.