We all want our teeth to look white and healthy. Going regularly to the dentist for cleanings and checkups is important, but we also need to protect our teeth in other ways.
There are a number of foods and drinks that are not the best at keeping those pearly whites in good shape.
It may come as a surprise just how bad some of those eatables are for your teeth.
Crackers are refined carbohydrates, which have been found to contribute to inflammation in the body. The starch in the crackers breaks down into simpler sugars that bacteria feed on, which produces acid. The acid can cause tooth decay, and inflammation in the mouth can lead to chronic gum diseases.
2) Dried fruit
Dried fruits like raisins and apricots are sticky so they cling to your teeth. These foods have highly concentrated sugars that attract bacteria, which produce acid that may damage your teeth.
3) Certain other fruit
Citrus fruit such as oranges or limes are acidic and can lead to cavities and sensitive teeth. Even though they are healthy for you, beware of stains from blueberries, cherries and cranberries. It is important to rinse your mouth with water after eating them.
4) Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea can stain your teeth. The darker the drink the more likely it will stain. Some black teas can be worse for staining than coffee.
Both hard and chewy candies expose your teeth to sticky sugars that bacteria can feed on. Sucking on hard candy allows the sugar to saturate your saliva and bathe the teeth in a sugary solution. Chewy candies stick to your teeth the same way dried fruit does.
Regular soda is full of sugar but even diet soda can be hard on your teeth. “Sugar-free diet sodas also contain citric and phosphoric acid and can erode the enamel when consumed often," reported Huffingtonpost.com.
7) Pickles, ketchup and vinegar
These foods are all acidic, and can open the pores of your teeth's enamel and allow staining.
Both red and white wine can damage your teeth due to the acids in them. Tannins in the red wine can also dry out your mouth and allow the staining of your teeth.
"A tooth's worst enemy is acid – either directly contained in the food and drink, or produced by oral bacteria which thrive on sugar and then convert it to acid," Dr. Matthew Steinberg, a dentist based in Austin, Texas told Huffington Post Canada.
"The mouth’s best friends are foods that neutralize acids, provide minerals and vitamins to repair tooth enamel and stimulate saliva."
Steinberg suggested drinking a lot of water to increase saliva flow. Eating or drinking dairy products help as teeth are made mostly of calcium. Nuts provide vitamins and minerals to help your teeth.
Care2.com reported that eating cauliflower and cucumbers can help stimulate saliva production and onions can help reduce the bacteria that contribute to tooth decay.
Worst Foods For Teeth: 11 Foods And Drinks To Watch Out For. The Huffington Post Canada. Posted: 05/17/2013. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
12 Best & Worst Foods for Your Teeth. Care2. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
14 Best And Worst Foods For Your Teeth. The Huffington Post Canada. Posted: 04/03/2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues.
Edited by Jody Smith