These foods are surprisingly bad for your teeth


Lady with orange on a fork

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Those of us who are fanatical about our dental hygiene know that while brushing, flossing and using mouth wash regularly goes a long way in regular tooth maintenance and prevention, we always can do more.

We know that refraining from consumption of bad foods that contain large amounts of sugar protects our teeth from such things as decay. We also know that other foods actively help us to polish, whiten and protect our chompers. Still there are good, healthy foods out there that pose little-known harm to our pearly whites. They strip our enamel, test durability and have textures that make it more likely that we’ll get cavities. Let’s examine why certain surprising foods are bad for our teeth and what we can do to provide protection:

Citrus, which is high in Vitamin C, among other health benefits

The Problem: The high acidity in citrus fruits, specifically grapefruit and lemons, eat away at tooth enamel.

The Fix: Switch to orange juice, which is less acidic; consume citrus while drinking water; or follow up citrus consumption by brushing teeth and flossing.

Those with sticky textures when chewed, such as crackers and peanut butter

The Problem: Sticky textures are a breeding ground for bacteria and they find their way into the cracks and crevices of our mouths and in between teeth easily. In short, this is a recipe for cavities.

The Fix: Proper brushing and flossing should take care of this.

Nuts, particularly almonds, which help stave off hunger and are a great source of “good” fats

The Problem: Even without the shell, nuts are very hard foods that could crack or break teeth.

The Fix: The vitamins and nutrients found in nuts are great for our teeth, so we recommend chewing with caution and watch out for missed shell pieces. Likewise, brush and floss away those pesky bits that could get stuck in between teeth.

Coffee and tea, which are a wonderful antioxidant and help boost metabolism, respectively

The Problem: Stains. Such dark stains, especially the acidity of coffee and if the tea has high tannin content.

The Fix: Cream coats the teeth, preventing stains to a certain extent. Likewise, drinking teas with less tannin content, such as green tea, will help to prevent stains. However, if you’re drinking multiple cups per day, you may want to cut back a bit.

Foods high in vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, such as pickled vegetables & salad dressings

The Problem: Vinegar, while disputed as a fighter of obesity and diabetes, is highly acidic and will eat away at tooth enamel over time.

The Fix: Limit your consumption by portion size and frequency.

Carbohydrates, such as pastas and breads

The Problem: Even whole-grain versions of carbohydrates, when chewed and mixed with saliva, create sugar. That sugar, which is acidic, breaks down tooth enamel and can get wedged in between teeth, causing cavities.

The Fix: Keep consuming the whole-grain versions of your favorite carbohydrates, but make sure to brush and floss properly.