The foods that are bad for your teeth always seem disproportionate to the foods that are actually good. This is because the bacteria in your mouth breaks down carbohydrates and sugars and converts them to acids that can erode enamel, and so many foods we eat on a daily basis are high in these substances. While there are certainly a number of foods that help fortify your teeth and gums, too often the ones that don’t end up contributing to the most severe problems–like cavities and gum disease. Regular brushing, flossing, and twice yearly trips to the dentist are still the best ways to combat tooth decay and maintain good oral health. While it can be hard to avoid eating certain foods known to contribute to tooth decay, there are a few food items that you should especially avoid or, in the least, consume only in moderation.
Hard & Chewy Candies
Candy is mostly sugar. As such, candies of every variety are bad for your teeth. Hard candies that are meant to be sucked and then chewed allow sugars to linger and dissolve slowly in the mouth as bacteria breaks them down into harmful acids. Chewy candies are often worse since they become stuck in the teeth where the sugars convert to acid and begin eating away at the protective layer of enamel on the teeth–eventually causing cavities. Sugary, acidic, and chewy candies are some of the worst since they initiate the harmful interaction of sugars and bacteria, as well as contribute their own erosive citric acid. If you eat candy, be sure to brush thoroughly afterwards.
This is one substance very well known to cause tooth decay. Soda has a host of harmful ingredients to teeth. Highly acidic and highly sugary, soda is one of the leading contributors to cavities and tooth decay. In addition to sugar, or in the U.S, high fructose corn syrup, equally as harmful as sugar, soda contains phosphoric and citric acid that can erode enamel. These acids, found in all carbonated soda, are often more harmful to your teeth than the fructose or natural sugars. The best option for soda lovers is to moderate consumption, drink soda primarily with food to help neutralize the acids, and brush soon after drinking it.
These light and simple snack foods may not seem like something that could harm your teeth, but they are. Crackers are a refined carbohydrate and, as they break down, convert to sugar very quickly in the mouth. These sugars contribute to cavity forming bacteria–especially as pieces of broken down cracker become lodged in the teeth. For most people, cracker binges are not a problem, but you should keep in mind some of the harmful potential when these carbohydrates break down into sugars and then into acids. Remember to brush and floss regularly after eating.
Donuts, muffins, cakes, pies, and other bakery sweets are harmful to your teeth. These items are high in sugars and starches that break down in the mouth into acids and can lead to cavities. These foods are particularly dangerous because they can be so hard to avoid. The additional risk of food particles from these items becoming lodged in between the teeth makes the potential for cavities even greater. If you regularly eat sweet bakery goods like these, be sure to brush and floss soon after eating to clean your teeth of harmful acids.