Many people know that to keep a healthy smile you have to brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly. But your diet also plays more of an impact than you may expect. Dr. Joseph Catanzano of Foxhall Smiles, a dentist in Washington DC, highlights some problem foods to avoid or limit for your oral health.
Chewy candy is known to get stuck in your teeth and become a problem. But hard candy isn’t an ideal substitute for your sweet tooth. While it doesn’t get stuck, hard candy releases sugar into your mouth the entire time it’s dissolving. Harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugar and emit an acidic byproduct that can eat through the tooth enamel. This contributes to tooth decay and other issues.
Hard candy can also send you into the office with a dental emergency. If you bite down before the candy is dissolved enough or at a wrong angle, it can chip or crack the tooth. If you’re lucky, it may just be a cosmetic issue. But if you hit that perfect spot, you may need a dental crown or further work to salvage your tooth.
Fruit is a good, healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth — if it’s fresh. Dried fruit has a similar sticky consistency to chewy candy. During the drying process, fruit also becomes more concentrated with sugar and loses nutrients. With all of these factors, dried fruit doesn’t end up being much better for you than chewy candy.
You may reach for a sports drink even when you aren’t working out as a healthier substitute for sugary sodas. But if you read the nutrition label, you’ll see that many sports drinks have as much or more sugar in them. Sports drinks are also often flavored with citric acid, which is harmful to your tooth enamel. With the combination of sugar and acid, their meager benefits aren’t worth it.
Chips and Crackers
Salty snacks probably don’t bring sugar to the mind. However, chips and crackers are both starches. As they’re chewed and digested, they break down into sugars. Chips splinter and pieces get stuck between their teeth, while crackers mix with saliva and form a paste that lays in the cusps of your molars. Make sure you rinse your mouth out with water after eating these snacks.
Water in its liquid form is one of the best things for your oral health. Not so much in its solid form. A habit of chewing ice increases how fast your teeth wear down. Ice also carries some of the same worries as hard candy. It can break or crack your tooth if you bite down on it the wrong way.
Visit Your Dentist in Washington DC
Schedule a visit with your dentist to make sure your diet isn’t wreaking havoc on your smile. Call us or schedule an appointment online.