5 Terrible Foods For Your Teeth by The Bristol Dental Practice
Prevention is the best medicine for your smile. Although fillings, crowns, and professional teeth whitening can make your teeth stronger and brighter, it’s better (and cheaper!) to avoid cavities and stains in the first place, by brushing, flossing, and—last but not least—eating right. As the following article explains, the food we eat can have a big impact on our teeth.
Fortunately, foods like sweets and chocolate that are generally considered terrible for our teeth are mainly harmless in moderation.
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Here is a list of the top five foods and their effect on teeth:
Citrus fruits and juices—a rich source of vitamin C and other nutrients—are good for you in many ways, but not when it comes to your teeth. Grapefruit and lemon juice, in particular, are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time. In a 2008 study that involved soaking pulled teeth in various citrus juices, those two caused the most damage. Orange juice caused the least.
Orange juice is less acidic, and some store-bought varieties are also fortified with teeth-friendly calcium and vitamin D. Fortified orange juice can be good for you on many levels, but brush and floss as recommended after drinking.
The stickier the sweets, the worse it tends to be for your teeth. Extra chewy sweets —like toffee, caramels, or Juicy fruits—stick to (and between) teeth for a long time, allowing the bacteria in our mouths to feast leisurely on the deposited sugar. Bacteria burns sugar to make acid, which dissolves the protective layer of tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Sweets that are chewy, sugary, and acidic—a category that includes many “sour” varieties—deliver a “triple whammy of negatives, because they carry their own payload of erosive acid, in addition to that produced by the interaction of sugar and bacteria.
Acid (typically provided by vinegar) is essential to the pickling process. It’s what gives pickles their sour, salty taste—and it’s also what makes them a potential hazard to tooth enamel. In one 2004 study that looked at the eating habits of English teenagers, pickles were the solid food most closely linked with tooth wear. Eating them more than once a day increased the odds of wear by about 85%.
Most of us don’t eat pickles that often, however, and snacking on them every now and then isn’t likely to noticeably affect your dental health.
It’s no secret that drinking too many sugary fizzy drinks can breed cavities. What’s less well-known is that the acids found in carbonated soft drinks appear to harm teeth even more than the sugar. The upshot? Even sugar-free diet drinks like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi — which both contain citric and phosphoric acid—can erode enamel if consumed in large doses.
If you can’t do without them, your best bet is to drink it during a meal, rather than sipping it throughout the day. The food will help neutralize the acid, and the time of exposure to the acid is much shorter
Here’s a rule of thumb: Anything that will get you shouted at if you spill it on a white table cloth or on the carpet will also stain your teeth, That means red wine, which contains substances known as chromogens that produce tooth-discolouring pigments. What’s more, the tannins in red wine tend to dry out the mouth and make teeth sticky, worsening stains.
But even white wine can contribute to staining. Reds and whites both contain erosive acid, allowing stains from other foods or drinks to penetrate more deeply. A 2009 study found that cow’s teeth soaked in black tea were more susceptible to staining if they were soaked in white wine (versus water) beforehand.
If you have any concerns regarding staining on teeth or would like information on our teeth whitening treatments in Bristol please telephone 0117 910 5929
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