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Some days — you have one of those days. It’s straight to the wine and chocolate. Heck, you’re going to devour the whole bag of chips because it’s been a week and a half in just five days. Comfort foods see you through the worst, and it’s okay to indulge once in a while.
Not all comfort foods are bad for you, either, but when you indulge in one nutrition area too much, too often, your body goes without other nutrients. Over-consumption of substances you assume to be health and energy aids, such as coffee and sports drinks, also affect your teeth.
When nutrition is imbalanced, the first place the evidence shows up is in your mouth. Weakened enamel, cavities and bleeding gums are just a few signs that your diet needs reanalysis. Here are the worst foods for your teeth with a few tips to change your ways:
Hard “candies” can come to the rescue in the form of cough drops during cold season. Beyond that, it may surprise you how bad hard candies are for your teeth in reality. The hard candies in grandparents’ snack dishes and candy machines put your chompers at risk when you bite down on them — leading to a chipped or broken tooth. When you consume too many, the sugar also wears down your teeth and gum line.
Chew gum with the ADA seal on the package. It’s approved by the American Dental Association.
Yes, citrus is among the type of foods recommended to maintain your nutrition. However, eating and drinking too much citrus affects your teeth and make your teeth more prone to decay as an acidic substance, which also hurts sores in the mouth.
Count juices toward your daily intake. Drink more plain water and squeeze a little lemon or lime inside, instead.
Coffee can benefit your health. One recent study found a decreased death risk of 8 to 15 percent in regular coffee drinkers. It can also reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and uterine and liver cancer.
That’s if you drink coffee closer to its natural form, without all the added sugar and syrups. Reduce your use of the add-ons, and monitor your teeth’s appearance. Caffeine can dry out the mouth and prevent saliva production, which helps to keep your teeth health and break down food. Coffee also stains your teeth.
Watch your intake of sports drinks when active. Sports drinks keep your energy up while you work out and participate in sports activities but have a downside, too.
These drinks also contain sugar and acid which contribute to the wear and tear on your enamel, leading to cavities and other concerns. One study revealed sports drinks have a low pH that causes enamel demineralization while another study dunked cow teeth in the liquid for an hour, and afterward, evidence of enamel erosion and softness were apparent.
Think of foods that stick to the roof of your mouth or between your teeth, such as peanut butter or trail mix. Dried fruit also count, even though it’s viewed as a healthy snack. Sticky foods can damage your teeth when they get stuck and expose the enamel and gum line to sugar and other substances for too long.
After you eat sticky foods, excuse yourself to the bathroom to rinse and swish. It’s not brushing or flossing, but it helps.
The first crunchy food that probably comes to mind is the potato chip. It’s so easy to sit down and go through half a bag before you’re halfway through a movie. Sadly for your appetite, potato chips contain starch and get stuck between the teeth, wearing down the enamel.
So, the next time you sit down to snack while watching a movie, go easy on the chips and turn to cauliflower dipped in hummus instead. Cauliflower helps keep your teeth clean and has crunch, too!
Here’s the one item your dentist preaches to all patients about chucking out the window — soda. It’s filled with more dye than a Holi celebration, boatloads of sugar and acid you’ve been told to clean your house with — seriously, when you can remove corrosion off a car battery terminal with cola, you should probably drink less of the stuff. The joke that soda is akin to battery acid is no joke.
That mess of grossness hangs around in your mouth, and plaque makes additional acids from the sugar in soda to wear down your enamel. If these drinks have added caffeine, dry mouth results. Drink water after drinking soda.
Alcohol leads to dry mouth and dehydration, and your saliva flow decreases dramatically when you drink too much. You place yourself at risk for tooth decay and oral infections like gum disease. Abuse of alcohol is the second leading risk factor for oral cancer and are three times more likely to suffer from permanent loss of teeth due to higher levels of plaque than normal.
Drinking a glass of water for every glass of alcohol is a good rule of thumb to make life easier for your liver and health. It also will prevent stains forming on your teeth.
Water is good for you. Why not ice?
The chill can be painful for those with sensitive teeth, but if you’re prone to chewing your ice, you also risk a cracked tooth. Avoid a dental emergency and stick with the liquid form of water. If it’s a habit formed out of anxiety, try to replace it with another healthy habit.
The acid in vinegar gifts pickles with their crunchy sour taste, but it also wears down your tooth enamel. One study found those who ate more than one pickle daily increased tooth decay by 85 percent. Who knew pickles could be so dangerous?
Fortunately, most folks accept a pickle slice on their cheeseburger, and that’s as far as the affection typically goes. For pickle lovers, try to keep it to one a day.
Watch out for these ten food substances — they’re the worst for your teeth. Most you know about, such as coffee and soda, while others are more surprising, such as chewing on ice and biting into a pickle.
You don’t have to completely eliminate these items from your diet. Just remember: all things in moderation will make your dentist less preachy on your next visit.