Many people know the basic formula for maintaining sparkling, healthy teeth, which includes regular brushing and flossing, consuming foods rich in calcium, and staying away from sugary foods and candy.
According to the American Dental Association, people should stay away from sugary and sticky foods because they tend to stay on the teeth for longer, giving bacteria an opportunity to act on them. Action of bacteria on the sugars leads to the production of acid that dissolves tooth enamel resulting in cavities. But sugar is not the only problem for healthy teeth. Acidic foods and drinks, including highly acidic fruits, carbonated drinks, and white wine contain a high amount of acidic content that erodes tooth enamel, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to damage.
Medications, foods, and drinks that stall saliva production and facilitate a dry mouth are also not ideal for dental health. This is because saliva helps to prevent food from sticking to the teeth by naturally washing the mouth of small food particles.
So, if you must consume the following list of worst foods to eat for your teeth, then make sure to brush afterwards.
1. Hard Candies
The sugar in candy is bad, but hard candies are particularly dangerous because you hold them in the mouth for much longer. This allows bacteria in your mouth to act on the sugar and produce acid almost immediately.
2. Confectionery Products
Products such as caramel are added to ice cream, cookies, popcorn, desserts, puddings, and so much more as a topping, filling, or flavoring. Caramel is a sugar in gooey form. It tends to stick to your teeth and form a coat that wears away tooth enamel, increasing your risk of tooth decay. Beware of caramel – it can also pull fillings right out of your mouth.
3. Sugary Baked Items
Baked products, such as cookies, cakes, and brownies contain a lot of sugar. These starchy treats easily get stuck between your teeth, and their high sugar content can be damaging to your teeth. It is hard to stay away from cakes and cookies, so if you must indulge, make sure to brush and floss afterwards.
4. Carbonated and Sugary Drinks
Sodas, sports drinks, sugary cocoas, and acidic coffees (i.e. coffee loaded with creamer)are not only bad for your general health, but also your dental health. These drinks contain sugars, citric acid, and other preservatives that can erode tooth enamel, causing irreversible damage.
5. White Wine
Compared to red wine, white wine does not have anti-bacterial properties that help to prevent tooth decay. In addition, white wine has a high acidic content, which can erode tooth enamel, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
While it is good to be eager about proper dental health, it is recommended that you wait for about half an hour to one hour before brushing your teeth after consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks. Brushing too soon further aggravates your teeth because the enamel is already weakened by the sugar or acid you consumed. The wait is necessary to give your saliva enough time to neutralize the acid and rinse away the food.