When it comes to foods one should steer clear of consuming, images of candy, cookies, pastries, and popcorn may come to mind.
We are taught that sugar is the number one nemesis to our oral health.
While refined sugars are indeed detrimental to tooth health, patients may be inadvertently eating foods that are destroying their teeth that aren’t known by their abundance of sugar.
While we think dried fruit is healthy alternative to other sugary, salty, unhealthy snacks such as potato chips and donuts, we are indulging in “sugar bombs” that can leave the bacteria and sugar in our mouths long after we enjoyed them because of their stickiness.
Before reaching for those dried cranberries, grab a banana instead.
Canned fruit may not have the stickiness of dried fruit, but they sure do pack in the sugar. Fruit itself is already sweet, but canned fruit comes sitting in sugar (and calorie) packed syrup.
Bread doesn’t have sugar, you may think. Though you hear white bread is bad because of the chemicals and wheat bleaching ingredients, you don’t think it is bad because of its high sugar content.
Unfortunately, all bread has sugar in it. In fact, all starchy foods like bread, potatoes and noodles contain high levels of sugar.
The sugars inside starchy foods like bread are broken down by saliva, leaving a pasty film on and between the teeth that contains bacteria, plaque and sugar. This unique type of sugar is found in what are called simple carbohydrates.
Nothing says good morning without a few slices of an orange or half of a grapefruit. Besides the nutritious Vitamin C and D and other healthy minerals and vitamins found in citrus fruits, you’ll also find tooth enamel destroying citric acid.
Ice, for the most part is seen as harmless. After all, how much damage can a small, brittle piece of frozen water do to teeth?
Surprisingly, more than you think. Chewing ice cubes chip away at the tooth enamel as well as lead to cracked, chipped teeth.
Well, this may not be surprising, but most deep-fried food, including potato chips, are high in starch (more simple carbohydrates) that are easy for the saliva to break down into cavity and gum disease-causing sugar and plaque.
Carrots and Apples
You may have heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While apples by themselves are good to eat as they are important for good overall body health, their hard, crispy elements can chip teeth and scrape off tooth enamel.
Similar risks can be applied to carrots because of their hard nature.
Vinegar is found in a variety of foods from marinades to salad dressing. This yummy condiment, however, has acids that can weaken the enamel of teeth.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is one those childhood classics that still serve as an innocent comfort food, or so you thought. Besides the sugar-producing starch of the bread, both the peanut butter and jelly contain vast amounts of sugar. On top of that, both are sticky meaning the decomposing starch of the bread and the sugar of the peanut butter and jelly will remain in your mouth until you give your mouth a good, thorough teeth and gum cleaning.
Pasta sauce may be known to temporarily discolor one’s teeth because of it’s dark-red staining. Did you know that tomatoes are also acidic? The acid from any tomato-based product will not only put one at risk for possibly stained teeth, but also weakened tooth enamel which makes the teeth more susceptible to decay.
Corn on the Cob
If you or someone you know have or had braces, you know that corn on the cob is off-limits. Well, this classic, summertime favorite remains on the banned foods list if you want to take care of your teeth.
The scraping of the corn kernels from the cob can scratch teeth enamel and increase the risk of chipped teeth and cracked fillings.
While corn itself is not bad for your oral health, eating it from the cob is. At your family’s summer picnic, try scrapping the kernels off the cob before enjoying the corn.
Sugar is found in more foods than candy. Sugar, in addition to citric acids, starches and simple carbohydrates can wreak havoc on one’s teeth and oral health.
Regardless of the foods you eat, it is important to practice adequate oral hygiene which includes regular visits to the dentist.