We all know we need to floss and brush our teeth every day, but is that enough to get the beautiful, radiant smile we all dream of?
We are what we eat and in the case of oral hygiene, our teeth reflect what we eat too. Whatever foods we choose to put in our body will ultimately influence how strong and healthy our teeth are, as is the case with the rest of your body.
At TLC Dental, we take your dental health pretty seriously and that’s why we’re here to tell you what we believe to be the top 10 worst foods for your teeth.
We’re passionate about preventing tooth decay, so read on to learn the best ways to improve the health of your teeth and avoid any unnecessary trips to the dentist – although we still love to see you!
(1) Anything sugary
Let’s face it, we all knew this one was coming! It’s bad for your waistline, it’s bad for your liver – of course it’s got to be one of the worst foods for your teeth!
You’ll find most of the foods on this list contain sugar. Sugar is a sneaky one, always creeping in where you least expect it! While you can feel pretty proud of yourself passing up a slice of cake for dessert, you may be surprised how many foods still carry this sweet compound.
But what makes sugar so bad? Well, not only do sweet treats love to lodge themselves between your teeth, but they can also transform specific types of bacteria in your mouth into exopolysaccharide. This sticky substance can cover your teeth, allowing unwelcome bacteria to cling to them, leaving you with plaque, which when left on teeth causes cavities.
(2) Hard-Boiled Lollies
Rich in sugar, these sickly sweet snacks are as hard as rocks – truly a dangerous combination! Not only can a hard-boiled lolly’s high sugar content cause the perfect breeding ground for plaque and cavities, bite down on these lollies and you could find yourself with a cracked tooth.
So should you suck on them instead? Not exactly – this will keep the sugar on your teeth for an extended period while the lolly melts, feeding cavity-causing bacteria.
While it’s probably best to ditch the hard lollies for good, you can still eat them in moderation if you wash your mouth out after snacking on them to help flush out and sugars that are lurking on your teeth.
Your tooth enamel’s mortal enemy, anything acidic makes for some of the worst food for your teeth. Try to avoid sucking on lemons, limes or anything else super acidic unless you want to wear down the strong layer of enamel coating your teeth!
While citrus can add oodles of flavour to your favourite recipes, it should always be ingested sensibly as an acidic oral environment can have some pretty nasty consequences for your teeth’s nerve endings.
(4) Dried fruits
When you next find yourself packing some healthy snacks for the lunchbox, it’s best to skip the dried fruit and reach for the fresh fruit instead.
While fine in moderation, dried fruits are sticky and cling to your teeth longer than other foods, leading to plaque and the erosion of enamel.
But don’t stress, if you love your dried apricots too much to pass up, make sure you rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and even give your teeth a quick brush to ensure nothing will stick around in there!
(5) Potato Chips
We all love the satisfying ‘crunch’ of a tasty potato chip, but that doesn’t mean your teeth do! Packed full of starch and simple carbohydrates, these tasty and addictive snacks are some of the worst foods for your teeth as they eventually break down into sugar and can easily get stuck between your teeth, feeding plaque-causing bacteria.
Next time you’re shopping for some scrumptious snacks, opt for some kale chips instead – they’ll still offer you all of the crunchy, salty goodness you crave without the starch.
Sadly, it’s a similar story with bread, most specifically white bread. Laden with carbohydrates and starch that love to stick around in your mouth before breaking down into simple sugars, it’s best to avoid anything starchy made with white flour as best as you can.
Bacteria love to snack on the sugars these simple carbohydrates create, leading to the production of tooth-decay-causing-acid. Ditch the white bread and pick out a loaf of rye bread instead – packed full of calcium and magnesium, whole grain bread will help improve your dental health instead!
(7) Muesli Bars
Don’t get too sucked into what the packaging may say – these bad boys are often far from good for you! In fact, when you look past the nuts grains and oats of a muesli bar, you may find that sugar is the ‘glue’ keeping it together!
Muesli bars are often filled with sticky dried fruits which we already know are far from your mouth’s best friend, lingering in the grooves of your teeth and causing bacteria to spread.
Next time you’re in the health food aisle, look out for a protein bar that is rich with prebiotic fibre and vitamin K2 – your teeth will thank you later!
Yep, sadly those crunchy, buttery puffs we all love are pretty bad for your teeth. With a tendency to get jammed between your teeth, munching on too much popcorn can lead to bacteria growth. And don’t get us started on those kernels at the bottom – bite down on one too hard and you could have a cracked tooth on your hands!
As some of the worst foods for your teeth, make sure to brush and floss your teeth as soon as you’ve snacked on any popcorn.
Ice is just water so it has to be good for your teeth, right? Wrong!
Ice is for drinks, not to be chewed on! Chewing on any hard substance can lead to cracked enamel, so it’s best to leave the ice in your drink rather than in your mouth unless you want to face a dental emergency.
(10) Anything with alcohol in it
Another one that shouldn’t be much of a surprise, you’d be hard-pressed to find any benefit alcohol has for your body.
Trifle or tiramisu lover? You’ll find that plenty of desserts can be packed with booze, especially spirits. Spirits, which are traditionally high in alcohol act as a diuretic and dry out your mouth. As saliva helps fight the buildup of plaque and bacteria on your tooth’s surface, less saliva means a higher chance of cavities.
What’s more is that any type of alcohol can have a high sugar and acid content, leading to – you guessed it, damaged enamel, tooth decay and cavities! Keep an eye on the amount of alcohol you drink and pay careful attention to whether or not it creeps into your favourite desserts as well.
No matter if you’ve found yourself with a cracked tooth, tooth decay or if you’re just after a thorough clean, TLC Dental will be able to help you walk away with a happy and healthy smile.
Our highly trained team of dentists, nurses and hygienists provide a wide range of dentistry procedures to help make your teeth stronger, so they are more resistant to acid attacks from any plaque, bacteria and sugar. Our dental fillings will close off gaps where bacteria can enter, helping your teeth stay healthy and fend off any further decay.
Are you due for a check-up? Get in touch with our friendly team today and book an appointment today!