The foods and drinks you consume daily have a significant effect on your teeth and overall oral health. Generally, you should be eating a well-balanced diet to keep your body and mouth healthy, but there are certain foods and beverages you should look out for to maintain optimal oral health.
Food & Beverages That Negatively Impact Your Oral Health
- Sugars: Sugars in food and drink are a major cause of tooth decay and the development of cavities. Dental cavities develop when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars to produce acid that demineralizes the hard tissues of the teeth. Sugary foods can stick to your teeth and lead to tooth decay. While most foods, including fruit, contain some sugars, it is important to control your sugar intake. Sugarless gum and candy are great alternatives, or incorporating your sugary food with your meal can neutralize the acids in the mouth and hinder tooth decay.
- Acidic Foods: Sugary foods are not the only types of foods that can be harmful to your teeth. Acidic foods and drinks with low pH values can cause dental erosion. Dental erosion is the gradual dissolving of the tooth enamel, leading to hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface. Acidic foods and beverages are often citrus-flavored, carbonated, or sour, so limiting those types of products is best. You can reduce tooth erosion by rinsing your mouth with water after eating, brushing your teeth an hour after eating acidic foods, drinking acidic beverages through a straw, and avoiding holding acidic foods in your mouth longer than you need to.
- Beverages and Foods That Stain Your Teeth: Regularly consuming certain drinks and foods can cause stains on your teeth that can affect your smile. Common teeth-staining foods and beverages include coffee, red wine, tea, cola, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, berries, curry, dark-colored fruit juice, and tomato-based sauces. The stains can be superficial, which a dental hygienist can clean off, but they can also cause internal staining of your tooth enamel that a dental cleaning won’t fix. You can drink through a straw or rinse your mouth frequently with water to reduce staining while consuming these types of foods and beverages.
- Frequent Snacks: Snacking frequently throughout the day can also increase your risk for tooth decay. If you are only brushing your teeth after your meals in the morning and at night, food that you eat throughout the day can remain on your teeth and lead to an accumulation of bacteria. Decay risks can be mitigated if you take steps to clean your teeth after each meal, including brushing, flossing, or using a mouth rinse.
Talk With a Dentist at Chestnut Ridge Dental
If you have questions about your diet and oral health, the dentists at Chestnut Ridge Dental are here to help! Regular cleanings, check-ups, and advice from our dental team can ensure your smile is in great shape. Contact us today at (201) 391-4466 to schedule your appointment!