Making sure you brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly are all important parts of maintaining good oral health. But your diet plays more of a part in it than you may realize. Dr. Melissa Elliott of Harford County Dentistry, a dentist in Fallston, MD, highlights five foods you should try to steer clear of to help your oral health.
1. Hard Candy
You probably already know how bad sticky candy is for your teeth. But hard candy isn’t a suitable alternative. While it doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, hard candy releases sugars into your mouth the entire time it’s dissolving. Harmful oral bacteria feed off of this sugar and emit an acidic byproduct. This byproduct is what causes problems with tooth decay and dental cavities.
But that isn’t the only danger hard candy presents. It can also lead to a need for emergency dentistry. If you bite down at the wrong angle or before the candy has dissolved enough, you risk chipping or cracking a tooth. While a cosmetic chip isn’t something to worry about, a severe break or crack needs to be fixed right away.
2. Dried Fruit
Fresh fruit is a great, healthy way to ease your sweet tooth. But the dried variety isn’t the same. Dried fruit is more concentrated with sugar and loses some of its nutrients in the drying process. Dried fruit also often has a consistency that’s similar to that of chewy candy. Combine the texture with the added sugar, and dried fruit isn’t much better than chewy candy is for your teeth.
3. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are often seen as a healthier alternative to soda and energy drinks. However, if you read the label closely, you’ll see that they contain as much (or even more) sugar as these other beverages. Citric acid is also commonly used to flavor sports drinks. Acid causes your tooth enamel to erode faster, making it easier for bacteria to cause problems.
4. Chips and Crackers
Salty snacks won’t usually show a lot of sugar in the nutrition label. But they’re starches that break down into sugars as they’re being chewed and digested. Chip pieces tend to get stuck between teeth, while crackers form a kind of paste that gets stuck in the crevices of molars. If you’re going to snack on these, try to rinse your mouth out with water afterward.
Water is one of the best things for your oral health…but only when it’s in liquid form. Chewing ice is a common habit. If you’re chewing it regularly, it increases how quickly your teeth wear down. It also carries the same problems as hard candy. If you bite down at the wrong angle or before it’s dissolved enough, a dental emergency may be in your future.
Oral Hygiene With Your Fallston, Maryland Dentist
Keep up your oral hygiene and health with regular visits to Harford County Dentistry. Call us or schedule an appointment online.