The diet we choose can affect our body and most importantly our teeth! Our teeth are the first to help with our digestive system and are the ones prone to damage from the food we eat. Our teeth don’t grow back so when we damage them; they are damaged. Some foods keep our teeth and gums healthy, and others do the opposite. There are four kinds of foods we should avoid while eating or at least minimize the amount we intake.
Foods High in Sugar
Even though foods high in sugar are delicious and have more flavor, they are harmful to our bodies and our teeth. We should be careful with how much intake we get from sugar foods. The bacteria in our mouth feeds off the sugar to create acids, the first steps to what can lead to cavities and tooth decay. You want to minimize your intake of sugar especially if it is refined sugar and not to let sugar linger in the mouth too long. Foods high in sugar include sugar, soft drinks, candies, dried fruit, desserts, jams, or cereal.
Soft foods are another type of food you want to avoid eating. The softness of food may sound good and effortless when it comes to chewing, but it causes more damage to our teeth. Sticky and chewy foods are clingers to our teeth; they stick and stay on teeth especially in between them for a long time. The longer the food stays in our mouth, the more acid bacteria produce. After eating sticky/ chewy foods make sure you clean your teeth thoroughly by flossing! Flossing will help you get in between your teeth where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Foods that are sticky and chewy are jelly beans, Laffy Taffy, dry fruit, beef jerky, cereal bars, or ginger cookies.
Our enamel is hard, but it doesn’t mean it’s durable. Our enamel may handle breaking down hard food when we choose to eat it; however, we always run the risk of chipping a tooth and damaging our enamel over time by weakening it. If food is too hard to chew on, then it means it’s not supposed to be in our mouth to eat. Hard foods to avoid are ice, Japanese peanuts, jolly ranchers, or uncooked popcorn.
Starchy Foods and Refined Carbohydrates:
Starchy foods are complex carbohydrates which contain a chain of sugar molecules. Not all starch foods are a source of fiber, and some contain more starch which are the ones we want to avoid to decrease tooth decay since they stay in the mouth longer. Refined carbohydrates are another source of carbohydrates to avoid as the fiber and nutritional value of the food is extracted. Refine carbs and starchy food quickly change into sugar the minute they enter our mouth due to the bacteria and saliva. Specific foods to be careful with are white bread, pasta, white rice, breaded or battered food, ice cream, bagels, corn chips, or pies.
Foods high in acid are dangerous! They can erode our teeth’s enamel causing tooth decay and cavities. It can even cause us to weaken our teeth making them sensitive. Sensitive teeth aren’t the best to have when you are drinking cold or hot beverages not to mention they continue to hurt over time. Foods high in acid are lemons, limes, oranges, tomatoes, coffee, or pickles.
Dry Mouthing Foods:
Having a dry mouth is always uncomfortable, sometimes it’s an unpleasant experience when you are trying to eat, talk or walk from one place to another without feeling the dryness in your throat. Foods causing our mouths to dry isn’t the best choice of food to have. We need to have saliva in our mouth regularly. Our saliva contains minerals our mouth needs and helps wash out plaque. It can even help prevent specific food from sticking to our teeth! We need to keep ourselves hydrated, and foods doing the opposite are coffee, energy drinks, alcohol, crackers, or toasted bread.
These are just some of the types of foods we want to avoid eating or minimize our intake of to reduce the damage we can cause to our teeth’s enamel. Our teeth need to have the same care as the rest of our body, but it needs extra attention as it’s the first step to our digestive system and is exposed to the damages of food. We choose what foods we eat and even though there are foods we eat that can harm our teeth but are good to our body doesn’t in no way mean we can’t have it. It just means we have to be cautious of how much we eat and creating a balance with the foods we eat to minimize the production of acid and the risks of damaging our teeth’s enamel.