Decaying Teeth? 4 Surprising Culprits

Article posted in: Lifestyle
teeth am i healthy

You already know that candy and cookies are bad for your teeth (among other things), but what you may not realize, is that even some of your favorite foods aren’t good for them either. If you want to keep your pearly whites for life, be aware of some of the dangers lurking in food.

We’ve laid out four foods you may not realizing are torturing your teeth, and what to do about it.

These four foods and drinks could be decaying your teeth:

1. Diet soft drinks and sports drinks.

teeth decaying surprising food and drinks
Step away from the cola and prevent tooth decay.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia tested the effects of a number of sugar-free and sugar-sweetened drinks on tooth enamel. Their findings: Shockingly, both kinds of drinks cause significant softening (30 to 40 percent) of tooth enamel. While sugar does plenty of damage, so does the citric and phosphoric acid found in sugar-free drinks and food.

Remedy: Check ingredients labels on sugar-free products to determine if they contain enamel-eroding acids. If they do, use them sparingly. For hydration, go to that old standby, water—preferable fluoridated, which can help cut down on tooth decay.

2. Raisins.

teeth decaying raisins
Are raisins really healthy? The rules are different when it comes to dental health.

Sweet as candy, and just as deadly to your teeth. Raisins and other dried fruit contain loads of sugar, but worse, they’re sticky too, so they can cling to your teeth longer than many other foods, according to the American Dental Association. Maybe it’s time to step back a bit from the cereal bars.

Remedy: You can still have some trail mix out on the trail. Just be extra good to your grin afterwards. The ADA recommends following consumption of raisins and other dried fruits with a water rinse, and then flossing in between your teeth to rid yourself of any remnants. Opting for the fresh fruit over the dried stuff also reduces the chances of food lingering in your mouth, long after your snack.

3. Bread, crackers and chips.

teeth decaying chips
Fried, baked or kettle-cooked chips are a recipe for teeth decaying drama.

Like raisins, starches tend to get stuck in between your teeth. Here, they feed the germs that cause plaque and eat away at your tooth enamel, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Seems like chips aren’t just bad for your waistline.

Remedy: Treat starches like sugary foods. They break down into sugar in your body. Only have starches with meals, when your mouth is already producing saliva, to reduce the effect of acid production and help wash food particles away. Consider following up with some sugarless gum that has the ADA seal of approval on the package. You could also have some cheese. A 2013 study by the Academy of General Dentistry found that eating cheese can help boost the pH in the mouth above 5.5. Research suggests that a higher mouth pH means fewer cavities.

4. Coffee and tea.

teeth decaying tea
Green tea has proven very beneficial to your health, but get carried away and you might have teeth decaying sooner than you think.

Yes, they stain your teeth in a way similar to red wine, but they can do more than aesthetic damage. The ADA claims that caffeinated beverages can dry out your mouth and saliva is your first defense against decaying teeth. Saliva helps wash food particles from your teeth and neutralizes the enamel-drilling acid produced by bacteria.

Remedy: Enjoy your morning coffee or tea but follow it with a water chaser, sugarless gum or candy to get the saliva flowing again. Look for sugarless products that contain Xylitol, suggests the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. This artificial sweetener has been shown to help prevent cavities.