You try to keep track of what your family eats. That’s because you want the best for them. When it comes to family dentistry, you know to cut back on candy and sweets. But some common foods can hurt your teeth without you realizing it. Here are some examples you might want to watch out for.
1. Chewing ice can wear down the enamel on your teeth. People like to chew ice, especially the crushed kind you find in fast food beverages. Your kids can get into this habit as well since crushed ice is much smaller. They can more easily fit it between their teeth. However, ice is incredibly hard. Crushing it with your teeth cause extra wear and tear on your teeth. The enamel will start to wear. This can lead to temperature sensitivity and more cavities.
2. Alcohol can dry out your mouth. Your kids hopefully aren’t drinking alcohol, but your family can be of any age. The alcohol in wine, beer, and liquor dries out your mouth and reduces the amount of saliva there. Your mouth needs saliva. Not only does it help you talk normally, but it also washes over your teeth and gums. This helps gets rid of small particles of food stuck there, depriving harmful bacteria of the food they need to grow. A dry mouth won’t do that; it only encourages those bacteria.
3. Coffee, tea, and wine leave behind stains on your enamel. Again, not many young kids are drinking these beverages (though they may drink dark soda or juice, which can have the same effect). But you probably are, and parents are certainly a part of family dentistry. All of those drinks are very acidic, which can harm your enamel. They also leave behind very small stains on your teeth. At first, you don’t notice anything different because the stains are too small. Over time, those stains keep sticking there. They build up and eventually make your teeth look dark and dingy. Cosmetic dentistry will be needed to make your teeth white again.
4. Diet soda can corrode your teeth. You’re right in thinking the sugar in regular soda is bad for your teeth. That’s because harmful bacteria absolutely love sugar and carbs. The liquid sugar in soda coats your teeth and gums, giving bacteria plenty to eat. So if the sugar is a problem, then diet soda is good, right? Unfortunately, wrong. All sodas (regular and diet) use acid for a tart flavor that counterbalances the sweetness. Cover a tooth in diet soda, and it will slowly but surely dissolve. The more diet soda your family drinks, the more likely your family will need dental restoration treatments from our Phoenix, AZ dental office to repair the corrosion.
5. Fruit juices, chocolate milk, and sports drinks often have as much sugar and carbs as regular sodas. Speaking of sugar, soda isn’t the only drink you have to watch out for. Fruit juices have a ton of sugar in them, even all-natural ones. Chocolate milk likewise has a lot of sugar thanks to the added sugar. Sports drinks are full of both sugar and carbohydrates. To bacteria, carbs are just as yummy as sugar. To help with good family dentistry, try sticking with water and regular milk when possible.
6. Popcorn can get stuck between teeth, and unpopped kernels can damage dental work. Popcorn is the perfect snack for watching movies at home or in the theater. Unbuttered popcorn is also a nice treat and considered mostly healthy. However, it’s not the best for your teeth. Bits of popcorn easily get stuck between your teeth. If not removed with dental floss, it can lead to cavities. Plus, not all kernels get popped. If you grab some popcorn and toss it in your mouth, you could bite down on a hard, unpopped corn kernel. Those are hard enough that they can hurt your teeth like chewing ice can.
7. Tomato sauce and curry can both stain and erode teeth. Some foods are acidic and can corrode your enamel. Others are dark and can leave behind stains. Foods like curry and tomato sauce tend to have both problems. They leave behind stains that can turn your pearly whites into something dingy. They’re also very acidic, which can corrode your enamel. (Also, premade pasta sauces usually have a lot of sugar in them.) Your family might need dental restorations and cosmetic dentistry to compensate, especially if you aren’t brushing regularly.
8. PB&J sandwiches also feed the bacteria causing cavities and gum disease. It’s hard to find a food more associated with kids than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Adults love them too. But they have two problems: they’re full of sugar, and they’re very sticky. Eating these is like painting sugar all over your teeth and gums. Family dentistry doesn’t say you can’t ever have these, but cutting back, eliminating or reducing the jelly, and making sure you brush afterward can help your family have healthier teeth and gums.
At our Phoenix, AZ dental office, we offer a variety of treatments for your family. Call us today at 602-842-6504 for your next appointment.