The Five Foes of Your Pearly Whites
Sugar and spice and all things nice, or so the saying goes, but did you know that hard candy, ice, citrus, coffee, and even crunchy foods are not so nice for your teeth? They’re hard, sugary, tooth-staining, and generally non-nutritious. The American Dental Association (ADA) identified nine not-so-good foods and drinks that we should all try to limit—or, in some instances, abstain from altogether—that we have culled to a short list of the “Big 5.” Here they are…
1. Hard Candy – Hard candy, while pleasurable, can be problematic to healthy teeth and gums. That’s in good part because of the sugar content, which upon entering the mouth, interacts with naturally occurring bacteria to produce acids that can damage tooth enamel. If that’s not fearsome enough, worse yet, chewing hard candy can end in a chipped or broken tooth. The ADA recommends, instead, any sugarless gum as a replacement. Choose the brand that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
2. Ice – Like hard candy, ice is, of course, hard. And chewing ice, just like hard candy, can be harmful to your teeth. So we suggest you steer clear of hard stuff altogether—hard candy, ice, and the like—to protect your teeth and gums from damage and decay. Water, in its liquid form, is your best choice.
3. Citrus – Whether it’s fruit itself or fruit drinks, citrus anything comes with a lot of acid that can be harmful to tooth enamel. And because of the high sugar content, it can also trigger an “acid attack” and, over time, leave you susceptible to decay. Plain water is a perfect replacement for sugary juices.
4. Coffee – Coffee and tea can stain your teeth and even leave your mouth parched, which isn’t good for your teeth either. Limit coffee and tea drinking, but if you can’t part with your daily java, quickly follow coffee or tea with a glass of water to help neutralize the acid and spare your pearly whites future problems.
5. Crunchy Foods – Potato chips—and other crunchy foods—can get trapped between your teeth, not unlike other foods, and contribute to plaque build-up. We offer a simple solution: twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing to combat tartar and plaque accumulation.
To learn more about diet and nutrition, visit ChooseMyPlate.org for a complete list of the foodstuffs that are good for your teeth and gums–and your body besides.