Watching what you eat is just as important for your teeth and gums as it is for your waistline. In fact, some things that you put in your mouth should be avoided at all costs.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, it is best to avoid soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Loaded with sugar, these types of beverages also contain citric and phosphoric acids that can erode the enamel on your teeth. Quench your thirst with unsweetened tea, water, or milk. If you miss the fizz, drink carbonated water or opt for diet drinks that do not contain sugar.
If you have a sweet tooth, it is best to rinse your mouth after you have enjoyed that bag of gummy bears. Caramels and other sticky candies contain refined sugar and can easily hide between your teeth. When you suck on a lollypop or a butterscotch, you are bathing your teeth with sugar. Hard candy can also cause a chipped or broken tooth. If you must indulge, go for something that dissolves quickly.
You may think you are doing yourself a favor by eating pretzels instead of potato chips, but both are just as bad when it comes to your teeth. Starchy foods such as French fries and white bread get trapped in between your teeth. If you do have something starchy, rinse with water or chew on a piece of nature’s dental floss, celery.
Those dried apricots and figs may be lower in calories than the cookies you usually snack on, but dried fruits contain added sugar, not to mention the natural sugar that you will find in dried prunes and dried mangos. Sticky foods will stick to your teeth so if you find yourself noshing on trail mix with dried fruit often, be sure to rinse afterwards.
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and even tomatoes are extremely acidic. Too much exposure can begin to erode the enamel on your teeth. Citrus fruits are best eaten as part of a larger meal or followed by a glass of water.
Alcohol will dry out your mouth. People who consume beer, wine or hard alcohol will suffer from dehydration. Heavy drinkers will find that their saliva flow decreases over time. According to your dentist, dry mouth can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Coffee and tea are usually healthy, but not when you add sugar or sweetened creamer to the mix. Try drinking your tea or coffee black and keep those cups to a minimum. Tea and coffee will also stain your teeth.
For more information regarding healthy foods for teeth and gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist.