The foods and drinks you consume can affect your oral health in a few different ways. Some foods are detrimental to the health of your teeth in many ways. Here are some of these foods that can harm our oral health.
Acidic and citrus foods have the strongest effect on our oral health. They break down the outer layer of the teeth, called the enamel. This exposes the dentin layer underneath, which is less durable than enamel and more prone to damage. Once the underlying layer of the teeth is exposed, they are susceptible to sensitivity and decay. A diet high in acidic foods and beverages is a recipe for poor oral health over time.
While sugar can cause tooth decay on its own, it also feeds the bad bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria then produce acid that can eat through the tooth enamel and cause cavities. A diet high in sugar can also increase inflammation in the gums, leading to gum disease or gingivitis. Some signs of oral inflammation include puffy or bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, or chronic bad breath. The risk of cavities also increases as the mouth becomes more acidic from eating too many sweet foods. Examples of sugary foods include candy, cookies, and soda. Even foods like dried fruits and bread can be harmful to the teeth if eaten in excess. Sugary foods should be limited as much as possible.
Drinking soda can lead to tooth decay, especially if you sip it over a long period of time. The sugar in soda is acidic and wears away at your enamel. This weakens your teeth and makes cavities more likely. In fact, one soda may contain more sugar than three chocolate chip cookies! Not only does soda lead to cavities, but it can also increase your risk of gum disease. Many sodas contain citric acid, which lowers the pH level in your mouth and causes bacteria to flourish. This can lead to plaque buildup and, eventually, gingivitis. Gum disease can cause oral bleeding, bad breath, and even tooth loss. So, reduce the intake of soda; instead, make water your beverage of choice.
Ice may seem like a good idea right after eating, but it really isn’t great for your oral health. The cold temperature of ice can cause irritation to sensitive tissues in the mouth. This irritation can lead to increased sensitivity levels or exacerbate the early stages of gum disease like gingivitis. These negative effects of eating ice are even worse if you are already experiencing tooth sensitivity due to tooth decay or a cavity. You can still enjoy a cold drink without chewing on ice to keep your smile healthy!
So, what exactly do sports drinks do to your teeth? First, it’s full of sugar and acid and is actually worse for your smile. This is because sports drinks contain citric acid and phosphoric acid, which break down tooth enamel and weaken your enamel even further. This weakens the ligaments holding teeth in place, making teeth more prone to cracking or breaking. Plus, these acids can lead to decay over time.
In addition, the sugar in these beverages feeds oral bacteria, which can lead to plaque buildup and cavities. And frequent consumption of sports drinks can erode enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay. So, you should still limit or avoid the consumption of any specialized acidic or sugary beverage to protect your oral health.
If you wish to learn more about good oral care habits, visit our clinic at Winning Smiles Family Dentistry, 7801 Old Branch Ave #206, Clinton, MD 20735. For appointments, call us at (301) 868-2004. We will be happy to guide you further.