Last week I went to the dentist’s office, and as I sat getting a cavity filled, I realized what I wanted one of my New Year’s resolutions to be: taking better care of my teeth. While my cavity was probably a result of leftover Halloween candy and the irresistible ice cream in the freezer, I figured there must be an easy way to keep eating my sweets, in limits, but still maintain dental health.
So, I asked my aunt, a dentist, to advise me on the foods to avoid for healthy teeth and preventing another cavity filling. While these tips won’t instantly give you healthy teeth, they’re definitely worth considering if you want to strengthen your dental habits.
These ice cubes may look harmless, and they are, when set aside to melt in a drink. But chewing ice cubes is awful for your teeth — my aunt recalls dozens of patients who came in with broken teeth, just from chewing on ice.
The citric acid in fruits like oranges and lemons cause fast enamel erosion and tooth decay. However, you don’t need to completely swear off citrus. By consuming it in one sitting and washing your teeth with water after, you’re greatly decreasing the effects your exposure to citrus will have.
Wine is good for you every once in a while, but it’s definitely not to be consumed daily. Red wine not only stains your teeth but also contains acids that can wear down the surface of your teeth.
Chewy candy is not only harmful because of the sugar in it that corrodes your teeth, but also because it easily sticks to your gums and teeth.
Sour candy, like chewy candy, is not only detrimental to your teeth because of the added sugars, but also because of the acids and the fact that the candy stays in your mouth for a long time. The worst part? You can’t reverse the effects by brushing your teeth soon after you eat them, as this may cause more damage to enamel because of the acids and your toothpaste combining.
While crackers may not seem harmful because they don’t contain added sugars or acids, they are still pretty damaging to your teeth. Crackers easily stick to your teeth and contain carbohydrates that, over time, break down into sugars.
While you won’t immediately see visible effects from consuming small amounts of vinegar periodically, vinegar has been known to trigger tooth decay.
To prevent this from happening, however, a helpful tip is just to rinse out your mouth with water after consuming large amounts.
It’s no secret that coffee can produce lasting stains on your teeth, but coffee also contains acids that weaken your tooth enamel. If you’re not willing to let go of your daily cup, a less intense alternative to protect your teeth is to wash them out thoroughly with water after consumption.
So here’s the basic rule of thumb: avoid acids and foods that will obviously stain your teeth. If you can’t totally avoid these foods, make sure you are washing your teeth with water after, brushing your teeth properly, and of course flossing.