They say you are what you eat. And in no better place can that be seen than in your teeth. That’s because many foods and drinks can cause plaque, which does serious damage your teeth. Plaque is a bacteria-filled sticky film that contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. After you eat a sugary snack or meal, the sugars cause the bacteria to release acids that attack tooth’s enamel. When the enamel breaks down, cavities can develop.
Trying to find a ‘healthy diet’ continues to be a modern day minefield, so here are a few foods to eat in moderation….
Citrus fruits – Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are tasty as both fruits and juices, and are packed with vitamin C. But their acid content can erode enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. Even squeezing a lemon or lime into water adds acid to a drink. If you want to get a dose of their antioxidants and vitamins, eat and drink them in moderation at mealtime and rinse with water afterward. Lots of people now drink lemon flavoured water during the day to ensure they stay hydrated, whilst this is super healthy for your body, it is extremely damaging to your teeth. You could use an alternative like fresh mint or cucumber.
Dried fruits – You likely assume that dried fruits are a healthy snack. That may be true, but many dried fruits — apricots, prunes, figs, and raisins, to name a few — are sticky. They get stuck and cling in the teeth and their crevices, leaving behind lots of sugar. If you do like to eat dried fruits, make sure you rinse your mouth with water, and then brush and floss after. And because they’re less concentrated with sugar, it is a better choice to eat the fresh versions instead!
Diet fizzy drinks – We all know that little, if any, good comes from fizzy drinks, even if it’s got the word “diet” on the can. A recent study even found that drinking large quantities of carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as using methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Carbonated sodas enable plaque to produce more acid to attack tooth enamel. So if you sip fizzy drinks all day, you’re essentially coating your teeth in acid. Plus it dries out your mouth, meaning you have less saliva. And last but not least, dark-colored drinks can discolor or stain your teeth.
Smoothies – There is a huge craze for smoothies in the UK at the moment, and whilst there is no doubt that they are packed with vitamins, minerals and hydration meaning they are super healthy for your body and skin, they are also packed with fruit sugars which can cause tooth decay. You might want to consider using more veggies in your smoothies and sweetening them with a little apple or pear rather than pineapple, mangoes or melon which are extremely high in sugars.