Is Your Diet Harming Your Teeth?

May 13, 2014

Dentist-Girl-with-Apple-SmallWe’ve all been taught from an early age that sugary foods such as candy and soda can be harmful to our teeth. However, it is important to know that other foods in your diet can be bad for your oral health. It’s not just candy and sugary drinks that should only be enjoyed in moderation.

Did you know that fruit can actually be harmful to your oral health? Many don’t consider this because fruit is such a nutritionally healthy food. However, acidic fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, lemons, tangerines, grapes and pineapple are not healthy for your teeth. Since these fruits are so high in acid, they can cause enamel to wear away. This can cause discoloration and increased sensitivity in your teeth. Other acidic foods include tomatoes, pickles and wine. These fruit and other foods should be enjoyed as part of a larger meal to decrease the exposure of acid to the teeth. You should also be aware that fruit juices are also very acidic and often contain added sugar.

Foods that are high in sugar should be consumed in moderation because bacteria feeds of off sugar. We know to avoid candy and soda, but what other foods belong in this category? Treats such as cookies, muffins, cake and even bread have a lot of sugar and can cause tooth decay. Snacks like pretzels, potato chips, French fries, crackers and dried fruit can easily stick to your teeth, exposing your teeth to sugar for a long time. If you any of these are in your diet,  be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after you eat these foods.

Additionally, there are foods that can actually improve your oral health. Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorous can help protect and rebuild your enamel. Such foods include but are not limited to:
• Milk
• Cheese
• Yogurt
• Nuts such as peanuts, cashews and almonds
• Chicken and other meats
• Sesame seeds

Non-acidic, high fiber foods that require a lot of chewing, like celery, apples, pears and carrots will stimulate the flow of your saliva. Saliva naturally cleans your teeth. Sugar-free gum can also have this effect, but avoid gum with sugar!

There are many ways that your teeth can be affected by your diet; some foods harm your oral health while others improve it. Be sure to take this into consideration when deciding what to have for lunch.

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