Flossing and brushing your teeth is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maintaining optimal oral hygiene. Your teeth and gums are largely affected by the food you eat. Some of these foods are worse than others because some of them have a high level of acidity which can wreak havoc on your teeth.
To get a good grasp of the state of your teeth, it is good to visit your family dentist. Your dentist would be able to let you know if you are suffering from tooth erosion. This is a permanent condition in which your enamel wears away, leading to the need for crowns, fillings, a root canal, or even tooth removal.
We’ve compiled a list of the 9 most acidic foods that are bad for your teeth.
- Candy and sticky sweets – By now we should all know that candy can damage your teeth. But sticky foods such as sticky candy, gummy bears, or caramel can pose an even greater risk to your oral health. This is not just because of its alarming sugar content, but because of these snacks’ ability to wedge between your teeth causing harm to appliances or tooth filling as well as the tooth itself.
If you are like many people out there who can’t bring themselves to stay away from candy entirely, then at least remember to floss and brush afterward without leaving any of these harmful substances behind.
- Sugary drinks – When a great quantity of harmful bacteria erodes the enamel of your teeth, tooth decay begins to occur. The sugars that can be found in sugary drinks such as sodas and sports drinks, allow these bacteria to thrive.
Drinks that contain chemical sweeteners like sugar-free soda and sports drinks are also harmful. To protect yourself it is good to keep some mouthwash handy or simply rinse your mouth with water after drinking these sugary drinks.
- Citrus foods – Citrus foods are known to have some of the highest levels of acidity, and while they may have many health benefits, they can be horrible for your teeth. Foods like oranges and pickles that are high in acid can erode the tooth enamel because of high acidity levels as well as sugar. You can eat these foods as long as you rinse your mouth after eating them, making sure to focus on between the teeth.
- Starchy foods – The body needs a certain amount of carbohydrates for proper bodily functions to occur. The problem is, that they can be bad for your teeth because they are quickly converted into sugars even why they are being chewed. If you’re someone who can’t go a day without eating your favorite carbs just remember to brush your teeth after meals.
- Alcohol – There are numerous harmful dangers of the overconsumption of alcohol including the negative effect it has on your teeth. Sugar can be found in many alcoholic drinks, but it’s even more harmful because of the way it dries the mouth. In order to keep all the healthy bacteria away from our mouths, we need to have enough saliva. People who drink alcohol in large quantities often don’t produce a sufficient amount of saliva for a moist mouth. A good rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every glass of alcohol to balance things out.
- Coffee and tea – There are countless benefits of tea and coffee for the body, from promoting longevity to reducing oxidative stress. However, they can be harmful to the teeth because they both can be highly acidic.
They can also stain the teeth when you drink them all the time, but added sugar in the tea and coffee is what is most problematic. This combined with the dehydrating effects of caffeine in coffee and tea which promotes a dry mouth and reduces saliva. Many people slowly sip coffee or tea with sugar after they’ve already brushed their teeth in the morning and don’t use mouthwash or rinse their mouth out when they are done.
- Dried Fruits – Dried fruits, such as prunes, figs, raisins, and apricots can be a healthy snack, but they can stick to the teeth. A lot of sugar can be left behind in the crevices between the teeth, and it is difficult to remove because it is so sticky. It may be a good idea to fresh fruits instead of the dried versions and follow up with flossing and brushing after eating.
- Balsamic vinegar and soy sauce – The high acidic levels in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar can be extremely harmful to the teeth because they erode the enamel while giving a potent stain that is almost impossible to correct.
- Gum – It’s no secret that gum is bad for your overall health as well as your oral health. This is due to the risk it poses to the teeth, when it comes to tooth decay. An even bigger problem is that sugar free gum can be just as harmful because they contain an acid that also causes tooth erosion. Gum can also be good for oral health because it stimulates the production of saliva, which keeps the bad bacteria at bay, but it all depends on the type of gum that you chew.
How to Protect Your Teeth
Many of the foods on the list are bad for overall health as well as oral health but there are some that are actually good for the body, just not the teeth. It would be absurd to ask someone to stay away from healthy foods needed for their survival. We should all be able to enjoy the foods we love.
When it comes to oral health, we should be mindful of the foods we consume and how they affect our teeth. Based on the knowledge of acidic foods we can have a schedule in place to take care of our teeth by brushing and flossing. It’s also important to keep the mouth moist and carry a portable bottle of mouthwash whenever we are on the go and can’t brush our teeth.