Food is a vital for survival. However eating has, for the most part, a negative effect on dental health. Among the foods that cause the biggest problems with oral hygiene are processed sugars, acidic food, alcohol, starchy foods and citrus fruits. These are known to wear away the protective coating on teeth and form cavities. A cavity is simply a hole in any given tooth. These are formed when food remains, acid and bacteria in the mouth combine to form a plaque. This plaque acts a haven for bacteria which attack the enamel, eventually resulting in cavities.
Here is a list of foods and drinks to avoid, to keep your teeth looking their best for longer:
Process sugar foods are consumed on a regular basis by most people around the world. Manufacturers of fast foods and snacks commonly add processed sugar into their products. Sugar that gets left behind in the mouth combine forces with bacteria to form plaque. This plaque settles on the enamel and slowly eats away at it. The plaque’s acid works on the enamel and over time can cause cavities. Common foods and drinks which are high in processed sugar and should be avoided include: candy, soda, processed juice drinks, yoghurt, cakes, jam, sauce and many more. Beware of food with hidden sugar as these will not only discreetly affect our oral health, but also your general well-being.
There are a wide range of foods that are highly acidic. Sodas are one of these, due to carbonated acids, and as mentioned above also contain a high sugar content so should definitely be avoided. There are many other foods that may surprise you as containing acids. Among these foods are fish, bread, and even some fruits. The damage from these foods and drinks is fast as the acid starts acting on the enamel immediately after consumption. In an effort to combat this, drink a lot of water or eat a good mix of alkaline foods to neutralize the PH of the acidic foods.
Alcohol causes cavities. While many of us may not want to believe it, the writing is on the wall. Not only does alcohol usually contain high levels of sugar, it also dehydrates the mouth which makes it less effective in washing and preventing food particles from sticking to your teeth. When the mouth is dry, food particles cannot be flushed away. To curb this, it is advisable to drink water in between your alcoholic drinks. You can also use a mouthwash to kill bacteria in the mouth. We recommend using a natural mouthwash made from sodium bicarbonate or diluted clove oil.
As you may know, food digestion starts in the mouth through the breaking down of starch. The starch is broken down into sugar. Once the sugar gets trapped between teeth, it invites the bacteria and the process of creating a plaque begins. It is from this plaque that the acid and germs act on the enamel. The action leads to erosion of the enamel and the formation of holes known as cavities. Common foods that contain starch include baked potatoes, rice, cakes, pasta, French fries and doughnuts.
Citrus is found in some common fruits like oranges, lemons, blueberries, limes, raspberries, mandarin, and grapefruit. Some juices and other foods are made from these fruits as well. It is the acidity in these fruits that can cause erosion of tooth enamel, so always wash down your citrus fruit intake with some water or combine them with other foods to reduce the acidic effect on your teeth.
Now that you know the main culprits of tooth erosion, be sure to take steps to protect your dental health. Always keep yourself well hydrated by drinking lot of water and brushing your teeth any meals that contain cavity causing ingredients. Better yet, cut out the above mentioned foods and drinks from your diet as much as possible, and save yourself a few trips to the dentist in the long run!