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Common Foods That Can Damage Teeth

woman eating green apple, healthy smile

What you eat and drink has a big impact on your overall health and well-being. You may not realize how much it also affects your oral health. While some foods and beverages support your oral health, others can cause long-lasting damage.

How are cavities formed?

Cavities can form when food debris, bacteria, saliva, and dead cells form plaque, a sticky substance that is deposited on your teeth. If it’s not removed, it can harden into tartar.

The bacteria thrive on nutrients such as sugar and produce acids that can cause decay. The decay eats away at your tooth’s enamel, its outer surface and works toward the interior of your tooth, forming a hole that’s called a cavity.

What are some common foods that can lead to tooth damage?

The following foods and beverages should be limited since they can damage your teeth and lead to cavities and other dental issues:

  • Bread - Starches made from white flour are carbohydrates, and they break down into simple sugars in your mouth. This provides food for bacteria that produce cavity-causing acid.
  • Alcohol - Alcohol can dry out your mouth, which can damage your teeth because saliva helps keep food from sticking to your teeth. It can even help repair early signs of tooth decay.
  • Sugar - Sugar provides food for the bacteria that create cavity-causing acids.
  • Carbonated drinks - Many carbonated drinks contain lots of sugar, but even sugar-free beverages usually contain acid. This erodes your enamel over time, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
  • Citrus - Citrus fruits and juices have a high acid content, which can erode tooth enamel.
  • Ice - If you happen to chew ice, you could damage your tooth enamel and chip, crack, or break a tooth. You could also damage dental work such as crowns.
  • Sticky, sugary foods - Sticky foods, like candy can get stuck in your teeth and inside their crevices, leaving behind lots of sugar.
  • Coffee and tea - If you drink coffee or tea that has caffeine in it, you’ll be drying out your mouth and making it more prone to cavities.

Which foods are tooth healthy?

The following foods can help keep your teeth healthy:

  • Fruits and vegetables - Their fiber increases your mouth’s flow of saliva, which washes away food particles and neutralizes acids. Crunchy choices like apples and carrots are ideal since their high water content dilutes the sugars and stimulates saliva production.
  • Dairy products - Foods like cheese and milk contain calcium, which helps strengthen your teeth. It also mixes with plaque and sticks to your teeth, protecting them from acids.
  • Sugarless chewing gum - Chewing sugarless gum can increase the flow of saliva in your mouth, helping to wash away food and neutralize acids.
  • Fluoridated water - Drinking fluoridated water or making foods such as condensed soup with it can help reduce your risk of cavities.

To learn more about how your diet can affect your teeth, speak to your Dental365 dentist during your next visit. Make an appointment or stop by one of the many convenient New York area offices. We have offices open seven days a week with extended weekday hours for your convenience, and we welcome walk-ins.

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