Identifying Foods That Can Damage Your Teeth

woman eating and smiling

What you eat and drink affects your oral health. At Parker West Dental Associates, Dr. Tim Nguyen offers his patients in Plano, TX healthy eating tips to help them to protect their teeth and gums. Every time you eat something sugary or acidic, your teeth are under attack. This is because sugar reacts with bacteria in the plaque and produces acids. This acid will erode, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. A balanced diet helps prevent gum disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss.

During a dental exam, he will look at your teeth and gums and ask questions about your diet to determine if it affects your oral health in any way. Every food that you eat or beverage you drink comes in contact with your teeth, so think carefully about which ones you choose.

What foods and beverages can cause tooth decay?

Tooth decay damages the teeth and requires fillings and, in severe cases, the need for extractions. Decay occurs when sugar reacts with bacteria found in plaque. This forms an acid that attacks the teeth and destroys the enamel. When this happens, the enamel breaks down, and a hole forms. This is known as a cavity. The decay process occurs quickly, which is why having regular dental exams and dental cleanings are important. They can detect these problems early on. Processed foods and foods high in sugar can eat at your enamel. Eating a well-balanced diet with healthy foods is essential, especially for young children.

Foods that damage teeth

Foods that are sticky and sugary are especially bad for your teeth. These types of food stick on the teeth longer, allowing bacteria to gather and tooth decay to begin. Some foods that damage teeth in Plano, TX include:

  • Popcorn: It gets stuck between the teeth easily and promotes bacteria growth to occur, leading to decay. It also can irritate sensitive gums.

  • Soda: Sugary beverages like soda are bad for the teeth as they are both full of sugar (which causes tooth decay) and acidic (which wears away tooth enamel).

  • Hard candy: Because of their texture, hard candy can cause the teeth to crack. They are also full of sugar and take a while to dissolve, which allows them to linger in the mouth for an extended period.

  • Citrus: Anything high in acid can promote tooth decay. If you eat citrus foods, rinse your mouth with water after eating to remove as much acid as possible.

  • Coffee or tea: Not only can coffee and tea cause stains, but they can also make the teeth sticky when sweetener is added. This means that more food particles linger in the mouth.

  • Ice: Ice is not for chewing. While it doesn’t contain sugar, it can still lead to cracked teeth.

What is erosion?

Acidic food and beverages cause dental erosion, a gradual dissolving of your tooth enamel. A product has high acid if it has a lower pH. Orange juice, grapefruit juice, milk, red wine, soda, and vinegar are some of the most erosive beverages. During a dental exam, Dr. Nguyen can determine if your diet is too acidic. If you do indulge in these things, drink plenty of water afterward to wash away the acid.

What foods are good for your teeth?

An anti-inflammatory diet has been proven to lead to healthier gums and fewer lost teeth. Certain foods that are high in fat or refined sugars can lead to inflammation. Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, or fatty fish, all promote better oral health.

The healthiest snacks you can eat are alkaline foods that are low in acid. Some examples of healthy snacks include:

  • Raw vegetables

  • Low-fat cheese

  • Nuts (in moderation)

  • Wheat crackers

  • Yogurt (low or no sugar)

Learn how food and dental health are related

During regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings at Parker West Dental Associates, Dr. Tim Nguyen can discuss your diet with you to determine if it’s affecting your oral health. He can also provide helpful tips on food and dental health that will improve your oral health in Plano, TX. To schedule a dental examination, call our professional team today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.