3 Food Groups that can Wreck your Teeth

Everyone knows that your smile can take a beating from coffee and red wine; but did you know that there are other commonly consumed foods that can do some serious damage to your teeth.

Here are three of the most common food groups that can inflict a lot of damage on the health of your teeth.

  1. Starchy foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and cereal disrupt the mouth’s acidity level causing it to rise. Anytime you consume refined starch like rice, cereal, potatoes and pasta be sure that you brush and floss to minimize exposure to these starches. Natural starches like the ones found in fibrous vegetables, however, tend to be easier on tooth enamel and can be consumed more freely.
  2. Foods high in sugar like pastries and some ready to eat snacks are of concern as well – not only because they are starchy but because they contain simple sugars that erode the tooth’s enamel. These types of foods tend to erode enamel even quicker than the “starchy” foods… so keeping these to a minimum is truly important when it comes to the health of your teeth. If you do snack on them, make sure you have water after to help rinse out as much of it as you can.
  3. Naturally acidic foods are an obvious threat to the health of your teeth. Grapefruit, lemon and other acidic fruits are best when consumed in a meal. While they do help with saliva production and their natural high water content, eating them by themselves will also change the acidity level in your mouth.

Food that’s Bad for Your Teeth

You may have noticed that all 3 of these food groups had something in common…they compromise your teeth’s health by changing  the acidity level in your mouth.

We all have a “natural” amount of bacteria in our mouth and on our tongue, something that saliva is in charge of cleaning out regularly by maintaining a healthy level of acidity within the mouth.The more food that is consumed, the more saliva is produced in order to help cleanse the mouth.

However, depending on the type of food, saliva alone may not be enough to cleanse the mouth out and that’s when acidity levels start to climb and thus, giving bacteria freedom to roam and exploit weaknesses in the teeth and gum lines.

Constant snacking also exposes teeth to erosion from both the excess saliva and the food itself giving an opportunity for food to become lodged in plaque between the teeth which is another major cause of tooth decay.

However, there is a happy ending to this story…. All of these foods, when consumed in moderation don’t have any immediate effect on teeth’s health; and proper oral hygiene will keep most dental problems at bay. So, make sure that you floss, brush, scrape your tongues, limit the amount of snacking between meals….and drink as much water as possible when brushing is not possible.

Odette Mura

Odette is an author who specializes in West Family Dental and has a passion for Oral Hygiene.

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