Eating a balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and feeling your best throughout life. But did you know that the foods you eat also directly impact your oral health? It’s true!
Healthy foods — like fruits and vegetables — provide crucial nutrients to keep your smile strong, while unhealthy options may increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
As a family dentist, Lisa Giovanetti, DDS, MS and our team at Maple Leaf Dental work with people of all ages to promote oral health. The food you put in your body can boost your tooth health, and there’s no time like the present to implement healthy changes. Read on to find out which foods are bad for your teeth, and what to eat instead.
Is your diet bad for your teeth?
Some of your favorite foods could be hurting your teeth. While many people know that sugar contributes to tooth decay, some other common culprits could surprise you.
Some foods are naturally high in acid. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and pickles are some of the most common, but all acidic foods increase acid levels in your mouth.
Consuming acidic foods frequently can erode tooth enamel. Your teeth may become thinner, more sensitive, and more likely to break.
Hard, sugary foods
Lots of hard candies, like lollipops, caramels, and mints, are high in sugar. Consuming too much sugar can damage tooth enamel over time, but it’s particularly dangerous if you like to indulge in hard candies.
As you suck on the candy, sugar lingers in your mouth and sticks to your teeth. This increases your risk of plaque buildup and dental cavities.
Eating a lot of sweet, sticky foods can affect your mouth just like hard candies. Sticky treats like fruit chews and sugary gum, and even raisins and dates, can deposit residue on your teeth. Because the residue is sticky, it’s often difficult to remove — and it can contribute to tooth decay over time.
Foods high in acid and sugar can cause oral health damage over time, but these aren’t the only problematic dietary habits. Ice is just frozen water, but it poses a risk of its own.
Chewing on ice (or other hard substances) may weaken tooth enamel and make your teeth prone to damage. One wrong bite can crack or chip a tooth, causing significant pain.
What and how to eat for healthier teeth
While some foods increase your risk of oral health issues, others promote strong, healthy teeth. Incorporating more of these foods can give your body essential nutrients to boost wellness.
Look for foods that are high in calcium and fiber. Calcium builds strong teeth and bones, and it’s found in dairy products, leafy greens, almonds, tofu, and seeds. Fiber promotes oral health by increasing saliva production to clean teeth, and it’s found in fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery.
While sugary, sticky, and acidic foods can hurt your teeth, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate them completely. The key to wellness is enjoying these treats in moderation, and ensuring you rinse your mouth after you eat them.
Consider drinking plenty of water throughout the day to rinse damaging food particles from your mouth. Chewing sugarless gum can also help clean your teeth, and always brush twice and floss at least once every day.
To maintain your best oral health, don’t forget to schedule regular dental exams. Our team offers comprehensive cleanings to prevent and treat all the most common dental issues. Call our Houston, Texas office at (281) 497-5558, or request an appointment online to get started today.