Great oral health begins in your pantry, refrigerator, and grocery bag. Even if you take excellent care of your teeth through brushing and flossing, your diet can counteract all of that hard work and absolutely destroy your smile.
This we’re exaggerating? Consider some of information we outline below, then give us a call at our East Dallas, TX dentist office. We can help you better understand how your oral health is reflecting your dietary choices. Let’s look at some of the biggest culprits:
So here’s the problem with chewy sweets like caramel, taffy, and sugary gum: the sugar has nowhere to go but directly on your teeth. And it sticks. You could eat an entire chocolate bar, and that chocolate is going to melt and disappear within a half hour after you eat it. Sticky, chewy sweets, however, get stuck in every nook and cranny of your teeth and won’t be removed until you brush (if you brush well).
You’re basically creating an all-day buffet for the decay-causing bacteria that live in your mouth. It’s not a pretty picture.
Think of carb-heavy snacks as things like chips, pretzels, and crackers. You know, the snacks that turn into glue when you chew it up? Much like chewy sweets, that glue is going to cover the inside of your mouth and hang out all day. Not only is it creating an endless food supply for the harmful bacteria, but it’s not good for the rest of your body either.
A general rule of thumb is that if it’s good for your waist, it’s good for your teeth.
We’re talking soda, sweet tea, sweetened coffee, sports drinks, lemonade, etc. Yes, all the good stuff. So here’s the deal: in moderation, these drinks are tolerable. You can have a lemonade with a meal and not worry too much about long term damage to your smile. However, these drinks pose a huge problem when you keep them sitting on the corner of your desk all day.
So here’s the rule of thumb: Enjoy a sugary drink once in a while if you wish, but keep water on your desk to sip during the day.
The previous concerns were all about the amount of sugar that’s getting stuck to your teeth. Sour candy and citrus are a different concern: Acid. Soft drinks and fruit juices can fall in this category as well. Your teeth have a layer of enamel that protect the soft dentin of your tooth from being exposed to bacteria. That enamel is the hard layer that keeps your tooth functional. However, acid poses a big threat.
The acid in these types of food and drink will wear down the enamel of your teeth over time leaving your tooth more likely to decay.
So what’s the big takeaway here? Are we trying to ensure that you never enjoy your favorite foods again? Absolutely not! But we are suggesting that you should be extra careful when consuming things like this. Know the risk and take necessary precautions. Brush well after enjoying these treats, and don’t allow them to become habitual.
As always, keep your smile safe by visiting our office for semi-annual dental cleanings and exams. This will allow us to catch small problems while they are still small. Call 972-360-9944 to schedule your next cleaning. We look forward to seeing you smile.