Our teeth work hard for us. Sometimes, we unknowingly make their job more difficult by choosing foods that cause stains or contain acids that make enamel vulnerable.
While we aren’t suggesting that you should stop eating these foods, it helps to be aware of the damage they can do so that you can make an informed choice.
- Citrus Fruits and Drinks
Oranges, lemons, and limes contain vitamin C and are good for your body, but unfortunately, these highly acidic fruits can be damaging to your dental enamel. If you have a canker sore, you probably know to avoid orange juice because it’s going to be painful, but you might not be aware of how that acid is affecting your teeth!
When you do decide to enjoy a citrusy treat, be sure to brush your teeth as soon as you can (but probably not immediately because toothpaste and oranges are a terrible combination!).
Most people know that sugary sodas aren’t a great choice for teeth. Some have tried to make the switch to diet soda but don’t realize that this isn’t a good choice either! All types of soda are highly acidic, and dark-colored sodas (like colas and root beer) can stain your teeth. In fact, the acidity of the soda makes it easier for the dark color of the drink to penetrate your enamel and cause your teeth to darken. It might be time to start cutting back on your soda habit.
What could be wrong with pasta? It’s soft and easy to eat, it’s not high in acids, the light color won’t stain…
Unfortunately, the soft nature of pasta (and rice, for that matter) makes it easy for it to get caught between your teeth and in the grooves of your molars. Once there, the starch converts to sugar, which promotes the growth of the bacteria that contribute to tooth decay and bad breath. Brushing your teeth after eating will help to inhibit this growth.
Combine tomato sauce with pasta, and you’ve set yourself up for a dental double whammy. The acidity of the tomatoes weakens the enamel, setting up your teeth for stains and making teeth more vulnerable to the bacteria feeding on the sugars from the pasta. You’ll probably never look at spaghetti and meatballs the same way again!
Chewy and Hard Candies
It’s a safe bet that candy was going to make it on this list. After all, it’s basically just different forms of sugar concealed within a bright wrapper!
But some forms of candy are worse than others. Chewy candies tend to get stuck in between your teeth, meaning the sugar stays put for longer than it would otherwise, and hard candies take a long time to eat, extending the length of time the sugar is in contact with your teeth. Additionally, chewy candies can pull out fillings or damage other restorations, and hard candies are often a culprit in cracked teeth or broken crowns.
Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth after eating any type of candy to prevent cavities and chew carefully – especially if you have any restorations!