Most people have had to visit the dentist for fillings, root canals, scaling and root planning. These procedures are costly and preceded by painful symptoms. Surprisingly, most of the problems affecting teeth are preventable. Regular brushing and flossing can save you a painful trip to the dentist. Aside from good dental hygiene, staying away from particular culprits guilty of eating away your teeth can keep your teeth healthy. The phrase “watch what you eat” is not only popular in the gym but also at the dental clinic. Certain foods and beverages are known for damaging teeth and gums. Here are some of the culprits eating away your teeth.
Stay away from candy
Although hard candies look harmless, if you take too many you stand the risk of developing dental cavities. The constant exposure of teeth to sugar is harmful. Oral bacteria use sugar as substrates to produce harmful acidic products. The acids dissolve and damage teeth. The inner layers of the tooth are usually exposed as the decaying process continues. The continued damage on the enamel forms tooth cavities that may extend to the pulp. Tooth sensitivity and pain are the most common tale tell signs of active tooth decay.
Ice is not for chewing
Ice is made of water and doesn’t contain any sugar but it can still damage your teeth. It’s a habit among some people to chew the ice left behind after taking a cold drink. Unlike water, ice is hard and can leave your teeth vulnerable to damage. The cold temperature of ice can actually cause your teeth to fracture. Usually, chewing ice cubes causes microscopic cracks on the surface of the enamel. These cracks can coalesce and form bigger fractures. Although crushed ice is less harmful than bigger cubes, it still doesn’t get the blessing of most dentists. Therefore, it’s prudent to break the habit of chewing ice and enjoy water in its liquid form.
Cut down on citrus intake
Citric juices and fruits are packed with vitamin C and other nutrients. An adequate intake of vitamin C guarantees healthy tissue growth and repair. These benefits are good for you but not always for your teeth. A squeeze of lemon can turn water into a tasty beverage but this may not be the best choice for your teeth. Citric foods expose your teeth to acids causing damage to your enamel. Moreover, citric fruits and juices irritate mouth sores. Therefore, it’s important to drink plenty of plain water to dilute the acid build up from citric food intake.
Avoid sticky foods
Dry fruits are a favourite for many people. They are a healthy snack option but most dried fruits are sticky and this is a big problem when it comes to dental health. Sticky foods tend to stay on your teeth longer than other types of foods. They cling in the teeth and their crevices while harbouring a lot of sugar. If you must take dried fruits, remember to rinse your mouth with water, brush and floss after.
Stay away from carbonated drinks
Little good comes from soda or pop even when the word ‘diet’ is stamped on the can. Research shows that drinking large amounts of carbonated soda extensively damages teeth. The damage has even been equated to the dental effects of taking methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Carbonated beverages enable plaque to produce more acid to attack tooth enamel. Moreover, the amount of saliva in your mouth significantly reduces with increased intake of carbonated drinks. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria which cause tooth decay. Dark coloured sodas are also notorious for staining and discolouring teeth. Despite these effects, do not rush for a toothbrush immediately after taking soda. This may hasten the decaying process. Next time you are thirsty, down some water and save yourself the trouble of tooth decay.
Limit your alcohol consumption
Alcohol has a lot of health implications especially when it comes to dental health. Alcohol consumption dries out your mouth. Without saliva, your teeth are vulnerable to damage. Saliva prevents food from sticking on your teeth and washes away particles. Saliva also contains immune factors like Immunoglobulin A that offer the first line of defence against harmful bacteria. Without saliva, you are susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and oral infections. Drink water, use fluoride rinses and take oral hydrated solutions to keep your mouth hydrated.
Bread is an everyday food item but excessive consumption can cause damage to your teeth. Other common food items and drinks that can cause tooth damage include wine, coffee, crackers, sports drinks and pickles. Most of these items are not avoidable but their intake can be regulated. Moreover, good dental hygiene practices like brushing your teeth, flossing and going for dental check-ups can prevent tooth decay and other dental complications.