Writers often espouse the dangers of sugar on dental health. However, few focus on some of the more surprising habits that negatively impact teeth. In this blog post, we seek to expose some of those practices. Avoiding them may improve the results of your next dental exam.
1. Carbonated beverages
Soda already has a bad rep relative to teeth. But did you know that diet varieties can damage enamel too? That’s because the carbonated beverages are highly acidic. And acid wreaks havoc on teeth. In fact, recent studies reveal that carbonated water may negatively impact dental health as much as sugary drinks like Kool-Aid and Coca-Cola. For dental as well as overall health, opt for flat water instead of soda water. Unlike iced tea, it won’t stain teeth. And since it’s alkaline instead of acidic, it improves overall health.
Most people realize the damage that sugar-laden cereal does to teeth. However, few remain aware that even “healthy” cereals such as oatmeal and granola can compromise dental health. The reason? People tend to pour copious amounts of milk on top of hot and cold cereal alike. This is problematic because milk is filled with lactose, which is a form of sugar. And since cereal does not coat teeth, you may be less likely to brush after eating it than if you ate a sugary snack such as caramel or cookies. So, if you must eat cereal, top it with something other than cow’s milk, such as soy or almond milk. Also, if your taste leans toward sugar-laden varieties of cereal, you may be better off avoiding the bowl in favor of a plate of eggs or avocado toast.
3. Citrus fruits
Your mother was right. The citric acid in lemon, oranges and limes can wear away enamel. So, whatever you do, don’t suck on citrus fruit. Protect your teeth further by sipping fruit juices with a straw, to bypass acids before they affect your pearly whites.
If this one has you scratching your head, you’re not alone. Few people realize that highly refined carbohydrates harm teeth. But recent studies suggest that they do just that. So, the next time you’re feeling puckish, instead of reaching for Ritz, grab a handful of nuts (s long as they aren’t honey-roasted).
5. Dried fruit
Raisins, prunes, dates, figs, and other dried fruit are low in acid. But the reason they harm teeth is because of the natural sugar content.What’s more, they stick to teeth much like caramel corn and candy bars. Resting against the dentin, they compromise the integrity of teeth. Instead, opt for non-acidic raw fruit like apples and oranges.
6. Hidden sugar
The thing that makes sugar the #1 enemy of dental health is that it turns the mouth into an acidic environment. Acid is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive. Regular consumption of sugar and sugar-laden ingredients bathes your teeth in acid. For healthy teeth, stick to snacks which are low on the Glycemic Index.
7. Pasta sauce
Although tomatoes are a popular and healthy fruit, they contain high amounts of acid. So, regular consumption of tomato-rich foods can damage teeth. And since most people pour copious amounts of pasta sauce over refined carbohydrate-laden noodles, eating pasta should be a treat rather than a dietary staple.
While most people intuitively understand the danger of Bread & Butter pickles to teeth, few realize that dill varieties are just as harmful to dental health. As with many of the foods on this list, the reason for the danger to teeth lies in the high acidic content. Anything with vinegar should be used sparingly for this reason.
9. Sports drinks
While drinks like Red Bull and Gatorade boast health benefits due to electrolytes, marketers fail to acknowledge the sugar content in nearly every sports beverage. In general, sports drinks contain at least half as much sugar as an equal amount of soda. Again, stick to water.
People often mistakenly believe that red wine leads to stains because of the color of the beverage. This is a fallacy. Even white whites compromise dental health due to the corrosive nature of tannins. While you may not wish to sip your wine with a straw, so teeth bypass the danger, at least wait 30 minutes after drinking wine to brush your teeth. The reason for this is so you will avoid brushing the acids from the wine into your dental enamel. And, once again, water is a much healthier choice.
About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California
Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.