14 Best And Worst Foods For Your Teeth - Worst

July 19, 2018 by Dr. Andrew Smyth  •  Original Post

When it comes to healthy teeth, we're all familiar with the basics: brush two times a day, try to floss at least once a day and visit your dentist for a check-up every six months.

Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, health professionals urge people to not only keep up with their oral hygiene, but also be more aware of health risks associated with gums and teeth. Oral cancer, for example, is one of the only cancers in the U.S. that is increasing in numbers, and 40 per cent of diagnosed cases are young people and non-smokers.

And yet, oral health is often overlooked or ignored — one survey from the U.K. even found about 7 million Britons didn't brush their teeth regularly. Sometimes keeping on top of your oral health just means watching out for what goes in your mouth.

"A tooth's worst enemy is acid – either directly contained in the food and drink, or produced by oral bacteria which thrive on sugar and then convert it to acid," says Dr. Matthew Steinberg, a dentist based in Austin. "The mouth’s best friends are foods that neutralize acids, provide minerals and vitamins to repair tooth enamel and stimulate saliva."

Steinberg adds that while some foods like sugary candies or fizzy pop contribute to the build-up of tooth decay or gum disease, there are healthier foods and drinks that essentially act like our mouth's laundry detergent.

Here is Steinberg's ultimate cheat sheet of the best and worst foods for your teeth. Now while eliminating all of these 'bad' foods won't necessarily guarantee perfect teeth, watching how often you eat certain foods along with regular brushing and flossing all impact the health of your mouth:

WORST:

Sugary Candies And Sweets

If you must have sweets, go for those that dissolve quickly in your mouth. Candies that stick around (like lollipops, caramels, jelly beans and hard candies), make it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away. Snacks like cookies, cakes or other desserts contain a high amount of sugar as well, which can cause tooth decay over time. If you can't resist your sweets, eat them as dessert after a main meal instead of several times a day between meals. And when possible, brush your teeth after eating anything sweet.

Starchy, Refined Carbs

Chips, bread, pasta or crackers can be just as harmful to the teeth as candy. Starches made from white flour are simple carbohydrates and can linger in your mouth and break down into simple sugars. Bacteria, in turn, feed on these sugars and produce acid, which causes tooth decay.

Carbonated Soft Drinks

Not only does pop contain a high amount of sugar, but both regular and diet pop also contain the mineral phosphorus, as well as carbonation that wear away and thin the enamel on your teeth. Over time, drinking a lot of pop can also cause teeth to become darker and more yellow. Bottled iced teas and lemonade, for example, are some of the biggest offenders.

Fruit Juice

Although fruit is an important part of a healthy diet, fruit juice can cause problems for your teeth. If your favourite store-bought juices are loaded with sugar, your teeth can wear down. If you regularly drink fruit juices, use a straw to avoid a having a large amount of liquid in your mouth at once.

Citrus Fruits And Other Acidic Foods

It’s OK to eat these kinds of foods, but don’t suck on them or keep them in your mouth for a long period of time. The acids in foods like lemons and pickles, for example, can erode the enamel of your teeth.

Honey And Dried Fruits

Honey is delicious, but if it is consumed regularly it can cause tooth decay. The same goes for dried fruits like raisins, apricots, pineapple, etc. Dried fruit has highly concentrated sugars, and its gummy-like texture can cling to teeth just like candy.

Sports And Vitamin Waters

Even so-called health drinks are brimming with danger for your teeth. Sports drinks are acidic and full of sugar, while some vitamin waters contain as much sugar as candy bars. Chewable vitamins – from multivitamins to large chewable vitamin C tablets – also contain a concentrated acid that tends to cling to and between teeth.

Tune in tomorrow for the best foods for your teeth!

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