6 Worst Foods for Your Teeth & Gums
Your mouth, teeth, and gums are important tools for eating. They play essential roles in chewing and swallowing and fulfill the first step in the digestive process. Your mouth is the first step in consuming nutrients that benefit the entire body. What you put in your mouth affects your general health as well as that of your teeth and gums. Your mouth is often the first place noticeable signs of poor nutrition show up in a routine exam at your Woodlands Dentist. To maintain a healthy mouth there are foods that are good for your teeth and some that are worse for your teeth and gums.
The Importance of Your Diet for Your Teeth’s Health
Healthy eating patterns and wise food choices can help prevent tooth decay. On the other hand, choosing foods that are bad for your teeth can have a negative impact on your teeth and oral health. It’s important to know which foods are good for your teeth and which ones you should avoid to protect the health of your teeth and gums.
Eating low-sugar, whole-grain choices in bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, and high-quality protein are the best choices for your oral health. Some of the teeth that can help your mouth clear bacteria and acid away from your teeth and keep your teeth strong include:
- Dairy products like yogurt and cheese
- Celery, carrots, and leafy greens
- Black and green tea
- Lean proteins
On the other hand, you’ll want to limit snacks between meals and sugary foods in general. Eating foods high in sugar exposes your teeth to harmful effects and decreases the saliva’s ability to neutralize acids that can damage your teeth. Bacteria love to feed on sugar which gets converted to acid. This actually means that these types of foods can keep harming your teeth for a long time after you finish eating them. When choosing snacks, stick with healthy options like cheese, some fruits, vegetables, and almonds.
Types of Food to Avoid to Keep a Healthy Mouth
Your good oral health depends on brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once each day. But you can also avoid or limit certain types of food to help maintain healthy teeth, gums, and mouth.
- Beware teeth, sugars and acid are here! When you consume sweet foods, they lower the pH in the mouth and make it more acidic. If these acids are not removed by brushing and flossing, then they can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Candies, soft drinks, dried fruits, desserts, and jams can wreak havoc in your mouth. Talk to Dr. Dernick about how to eliminate these and other sweet foods from your diet.
- Highly Acidic Foods. Orange juice is good for the body, but as highly acidic food, it can cause tooth decay and cavities. To minimize the effect of OJ and other acidic foods, rinse your mouth with water right after consuming them. This keeps the acid from remaining in contact with your teeth for a long time. Other highly acidic foods include pickles, lemons, alcohol, tomatoes, and coffee.
- Sticky and Chewy Foods. Most sticky foods are high in sugar which is damaging to teeth on its own. But chewy or sticky foods can cause more trouble. When food sticks to your teeth, you have to chew them longer. Taffy, dried fruit, and caramel can create a feast for bacteria and help them grow faster in your mouth.
- Starchy Foods and Refined Carbohydrates. Starchy foods and refined carbs like white bread can get stuck in the teeth. They are easily trapped between teeth by chewing motion. Remember that starches turn to sugars which tend to lower the pH in your mouth. If they are not removed adequately by brushing and flossing, dental plaque can form and lead to cavities. You don’t have to totally eliminate carbs from your diet but try to eat less refined varieties like whole wheat that contain less added sugar.
- Foods that Dry Out Your Mouth. Your first defense against tooth decay is your saliva. In it, you’ll find a number of molecular elements that help to restrict the growth of microbes. Other roles of saliva are to prevent dental plaque from forming and help to repair early signs of gum disease and tooth decay. Eating foods that dry out your mouth can increase your risk for tooth decay. Cut back on foods and drinks that tend to dry out the mouth like coffee, soda, tea, crackers, sugary desserts, and salted nuts. If you suffer from chronic dry mouth, talk to Dr. Robert G. Dernick, DDS about dental treatment that can help.
- Very Hard Foods That You Chew On. Even though your tooth enamel is the hardest part of the body, it cannot stand up to chewing on hard foods like ice or candy. These types of hard foods can cause damage and cracks.
Gum disease can be caused by these specific foods.
It’s important to limit foods and drinks that can damage your teeth. There are some specific foods that can lead to gum disease including:
- Soda and Sports Drinks Can Cause Gum Disease – These types of drinks are loaded with acid and sugar that feed bacteria which can cause the erosion of tooth enamel and gum or periodontal disease.
- Acidic Juices and Fruits – Fruit juice is high in sugar also and acidic juices can damage your teeth. Avoid oranges, lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits and juices.
- Candy and Dried Fruit – Dried fruit and candy can combine two harmful elements – sugar and sticky, hard-to-chew substances.
- Starchy Foods – Simple carbs in starchy foods like white bread, pasta, and crackers convert to sugars quickly in the mouth allowing bacteria to thrive.
- Popcorn – Husks easily lodge between teeth and spaces between your gums and a tooth. Brushing doesn’t always remove small food particles like popcorn husks and this can lead to infections or an abscess.
- Ice Cream – Who doesn’t love a bowl of ice cream? But this sugary goodness melts in the mouth coating the teeth with the stuff gum disease-causing bacteria loves. It’s best to avoid it.
- Tomatoes – Highly acidic tomatoes can erode away at tooth enamel and make way for the beginning stages of gum disease.
Contact –The Woodlands Dentist
Being conscious about the things you eat or drink can make a huge difference in your oral health, especially over time. Dr. Dernick believes in providing patient education and resources to help you make the best choices so you can protect your healthy teeth and avoid gum disease. Please feel free to ask us any questions about periodontal disease or your oral health. Call us today to schedule your next appointment or use the convenient contact request form.