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  • Writer's pictureDr Gautam Herle

Food to avoid to look after your teeth

If you want a life-long healthy smile, you’re going to need to make a habit of brushing and flossing regularly, as well as making regular check-ups with your dentist. But the whole thing will be so much easier if you avoid certain foods. Let me explain…

The foods listed below make looking after your teeth and keeping them healthier, longer all that much harder. Knowledge is power, however, and armed with this specific knowledge that these foods and beverages are going to do more harm than good is going to equip you to better handle your general health care. The less you consume foods that are bad for your teeth, the less work – and expense – you’ll have to endure to eventually make things right.

I’m not suggesting you completely cut these items from your diet (although you’d not be doing yourself any damage if you did), but moderation is key, and brushing & flossing after eating them is essential for a healthy smile.

  1. Lollies and sweets. These are – not surprisingly – full of sugar. Plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, the hard surface of your teeth. Avoid these, they’re bad for you, and aside from anything else have zero nutritional value.

  2. Starchy foods. Potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. Since we rarely have just one (the ads have trained us well), the acid production from the chips lingers and lasts, giving more opportunities to damage your teeth.

  3. Carbonated (fizzy) drinks. Not to sound like a broken record, but sugar, again, is the culprit here. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth, with the sugar from these fizzy drinks producing acids that dissolve and damage teeth. Soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi have astonishingly high levels of sugar, so drinking them can be a huge contributor to tooth decay.

  4. Alcohol. It’s not about the sugar in many alcoholic beverages that’s the problem here, although that’s not to be ignored. The main issue is found in the effect alcohol has on you: it dehydrates you. As it causes dehydration and dry mouth, so saliva flow is reduced, and the risk of tooth decay and gum disease shoots up.

  5. Dried fruit. This might come as a bit of a surprise to you, considering fruits, generally, are very good for your teeth. But the problem with dried fruit like apricots, prunes, figs, and raisins is that they tend to be sticky. When you chew on them, bits of them can get stuck and cling to your teeth and the gaps between them, leaving behind lots of sugar.

it is not about the quantity but the frequency of exposures of acid/sugar, that damages the teeth. take for example if you had 10 jelly beans with you. If you ate one jelly bean every 30 min, this would be more damaging than eating all 10 at one go. every time there is sugar in the mouth, the bacteria breaks it down and produces acid. it is this acid that eats into the enamel and causes cavity.

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