With new information coming out in the field of dentistry and medicine, it’s hard to stay on top of what’s good for you and what’s bad for you. Generally, with your teeth and gums, the usual suspects of candy, sodas, and other sugary substances should be avoided. But here at Pro Health Dental we wanted to look a little bit deeper into some of the quiet culprits that might be doing damage to your smile.
So let’s just assume that the obvious smile saboteurs are understood: soda, hard candy, energy drinks—all of these have high sugar content, which is one of the main contributors to cavities.
In this day and age people tend to be a little more informed about diet and overall health. With this in mind, we assume that many are already conscientious about their sugar-laden food and drink consumption. But it doesn’t stop there. Some foods that are considered good for your nutrition might be doing an inside job on your teeth and gums.
Vitamin C (often acquired dietarily through oranges and other citrus fruits) is crucial for maintaining gum collagen, but overdoing it can come at a detriment to your smile. That orange you grabbed from the break room, that water that you insist you get with a lemon, those items could be softening and eroding your enamel. Lemons and limes are especially harsh (both concentrated and high in sugar content).
Not enough to convince you? A study in the British Journal of Nutrition back in 2011 found that grapefruit juice is almost as erosive to your teeth as Coca-Cola.
How to fix: Chug a tall glass of water after that orange juice. Then, twenty minutes later, make sure that you brush your teeth. It’s important to hold off on brushing immediately, because acid exposure softens your teeth. If you vigorously brush right away, you could actually abrade your enamel.
We know this one is a bummer, because we’re as nuts about almonds as you are. They have high vitamin E content and they’re chock full of healthy fats that keep you satisfied and energized. The catch is that almonds are extremely hard. They can create a wedge when you bite down, resulting in a tooth fracture.
How to fix: Get rid of whole almonds from your diet. Go with almond butter or opt for the sliced variety instead. Any leg work you can do with these stern staples of the diet before they reach your mouth will help support the longevity of your smile.
Pickles are a necessity for some when it comes to sandwiches. Charcuterie appetizers often feature picked veggies, and some hobbyists post photos ad nauseam about their latest pickling endeavor. Pickled veggies are generally low in calories and big on flavor, but they’re also big on acid content due to vinegar. This can de-mineralize your teeth. Pickled food often have cavity-causing sugar as well.
How to fix: Pair that pickle with a bit of cheese. This will help neutralize the acids because of the calcium content in cheese. Another way would be to chew a piece of sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. This ingredient helps cancel out the acid while also activating saliva production, which rinses out the mouth.
Dried fruit is a healthy eater’s go-to snack, especially on hiking trails, road trips, and while camping. But you may want to think twice about munching on dried apricots and raisins while you’re away from home. Dehydrated fruit is highly concentrated with cavity-causing sugar that clings onto your teeth.
How to fix: Keep the dried fruit at home for snacking. That way, you can swish with water, wait twenty minutes, then brush, as mentioned above.
Coffee may be dense with antioxidants, but it also comes along with some serious staining. Staining creates a rougher tooth surface for plaque to latch onto. Often patients take their coffee with honey or sugar, which we already know isn’t good for your teeth.
How to fix: Try to limit your coffee intake. Cutting down to one or two cups instead of the requisite pot of coffee to start your day will help a lot in cutting down brown stains. If you can’t begrudge yourself your daily java, switch to cold brew and drink it out of a straw to limit coffee contact with teeth. Keep your coffee sugar free and add a little milk to neutralize the acids.
We hope some of this helps. We also hope we didn’t ruin anybody’s day with this information. Making slight adjustments like those we’ve mentioned above can go a long way for your oral health. Make sure you keep your bi-annual appointments with Mission Viejo dentist, Dr. Ada Gruita and Pro Health Dental. We look forward to seeing you and appreciate your readership!