Foods That Affect Your Teeth
The adage ‘you are what you eat’ has never been more true when applied to your teeth. There are certain foods and beverages that are a definite ‘no-no’ when it comes to your teeth and gum health, as they encourage tooth decay. And no matter what your age is, the reasons for tooth decay always remain the same.
When you eat or drink foods that are high in sugar and starch, you not only feed yourself but also the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria metabolize the sugars to create acids which cause cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. The bacteria hide inside sticky plaque films covering your teeth and eventually lead to inflammatory conditions and breakdown of the gums, bones and other structures supporting the tooth. In the end, poor oral health affects your mental, physical and social well-being too. To avoid such situations, here’s a look at some foods that are best steered clear of:
Sweets and starchy foods
Wherever possible eat sugary things with a meal so they can get washed away with saliva. Lollipops, caramels and cough drops stay in the mouth for longer periods of time, making it difficult for saliva to wash them away. The constant rush of sugar is then used by bacteria, which feed off sugary and starchy foods to release acids and cause tooth decay. Processed, pasty foods rich in carbohydrates like white bread, cake, pasta and crackers can also get trapped between teeth and cause inflammation, leading to gingivitis and periodontitis.
Carbonated soft drinks and alcohol
Loaded with sugars and rich in phosphoric and citric acids, soft drinks have been implicated in dental erosion and increased cavities. Sipping them gives your teeth a sugar bath – consider using straws wherever possible to reduce their impact on teeth. Refrain from brushing teeth directly after indulging in soft drinks also as the acid softens the teeth’s structure, making it easier for minerals to erode away. Wines also contain erosive acids that can soften the tooth’s enamel, thereby weakening its structure. Red wines are also known to teeth. Alcoholic drinks generally dry out the mouth, hence reducing the protective effects of saliva on your teeth.
Acidic fruits and pickles
While limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruit are beneficial to health, their acid content can wear away the teeth’s structure. Using a straw reduces the impact of acidic juices as sucking delivers the juice to the back of the mouth, bypassing most of your teeth. Pickles are also sour and acidic and usually rich in acidic vinegar and are known as effective contributors towards cavities and enamel erosion too. They are best eaten with meals.
The bottom line is that sugary and acidic foods are your teeth’s worst enemies. Have your teeth checked up regularly.