You may be familiar with the best foods to eat to keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape and to help reduce your risk for gum disease. Just as there are great foods for your teeth, there are also foods that really do a number on them, putting you at an increased risk for cavities, gum disease and other oral problems. Try to eliminate or reduce the following foods from your diet for the sake of your smile.
Crunchy snacks can have a negative impact on your mouth in a few ways. First, snacks such as crackers, popcorn and potato chips tend to be made from simple carbohydrates, or sugar, which increases your risk for tooth decay. Second, crunchy foods have a tendency to shatter into hundreds of little pieces when you chew. Those little bits then get stuck between your teeth, or worse, between your teeth and gums, leading to plaque buildup and eventually tartar if it’s not cleaned away.
Popcorn can be a double whammy. Not only can bits of the kernel lodge in your teeth. The unpopped kernels, often found at the bottom of the bag or bowl, can crack your tooth if you bite down on them.
The best thing you can do is cut crunch snacks out of your diet entirely. If the thought of a movie without popcorn makes you cringe, though, just make sure you take the time to floss after your snack, removing any bits of food that might be stuck in your teeth, and leave those unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bag.
Citrus and Other Acidic Foods
Citrus fruits seem like they’d be great for you. After all, they are high in vitamin C, fiber and a number of other nutrients. But, the acid content of citrus fruits, such as grapefruit and orange, can be a nightmare for your teeth. The acid can wear away your teeth’s enamel, making them more sensitive and more prone to decay.
Since citrus fruits have so many benefits for your health, you don’t have to cut them out of your diet completely. Just make sure you drink an ample amount of water when eating an orange or grapefruit, to wash away the acid. Citrus isn’t the only acidic food you need to look out for. Pickles, tomatoes and vinegars can also be problematic.
The combination of sugar and sticky makes chewy candies, from caramels and jelly beans to taffy and gummy bears, some of the worst things for your teeth. When you eat something sweet and sticky, it tends to cling to your teeth for a longer period of time, giving bacteria plenty of opportunity to get in there and cause some problems, such as gumdisease or decay.
Since there’s really no health benefit to jelly beans or caramels, your best bet is to limit your intake of sticky sweets. Enjoy chewy candies at the holidays, for example, but not at other times of the year. Reduce the damage caused by the treats by brushing and flossing well after eating.
Corn on the Cob
For plenty of people, fall and the times around Thanksgiving aren’t complete without corn on the cob. But, eating your corn in this way can damage your teeth in a number of ways. It’s a disaster for people with braces, as the corn pieces can get stuck in and damage the wires.
You can still enjoy fresh corn. Just make sure to slice it off the cob before eating. Floss and brush afterwards to get any small pieces of corn off of or out from between your teeth.
While ice is technically not a food, that doesn’t keep countless people from chewing on or cracking it with their teeth. Ice won’t increase your risk for cavities or gum disease, since it is just frozen water. But, it does increase your risk for a broken tooth. If you just can’t resist the lure of an ice cube in the bottom of a glass, start ordering your drinks without ice.
Miami periodontists Dr. John Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas want you to have the healthiest smile possible. To learn more about ways to protect your teeth and gums and how a periodontist can help you, contact their office at (305) 447-1447 to schedule an appointment today.