Regular oral healthcare is crucial to keeping a healthy mouth. Brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist are all important steps. But your diet plays a big part in your oral health too. A healthy, balanced diet is best for the health of your mouth and the rest of your body. In particular, the following foods can do a lot of damage to the health of your mouth.
1. Hard Candy
When talking about candy culprits with oral health, chewy candy is usually the go-to. But hard candy isn’t a better option when you’re craving something sweet. Hard candy takes a long time to dissolve in your mouth, releasing sugar the entire time. The bacteria that thrive off sugar stick around longer and emit the acidic byproduct that causes tooth decay.
Don’t attempt to chew that hard candy though, either. Biting down on hard candy at the wrong time can lead to a dental emergency. It’s easy to chip or crack your tooth with hard candy. Even if you chew it later, hard candy is extremely sticky and gets built up in your teeth. It takes longer to wear away than chewy candy, staying on the tooth’s surface longer.
2. Chips and Crackers
You may think a salty snack is safe, but chips and crackers are hiding problems too. Both of them are heavy in starches. As starches break down, they turn into sugars, meaning that these salty snacks are still releasing sugar into your mouth.
Chips break up into smaller chunks that are easily lodged in between your teeth. Crackers form more of a paste as they’re chewed up, getting stuck in the nooks and crannies in your teeth and staying in there. If you’re chomping down on one of these snacks, make sure you’re rinsing your mouth out with water afterward.
3. Dried Fruit
Many people turn to fruit as a healthier way to take care of their sweet tooth. It’s a good choice – as long as you stick to fresh fruit. The dehydration process takes out a lot of the nutrients that make fresh fruit so good for you. It also leads to a higher concentration of sugar in the finished product.
Fresh fruit often has a crunchy consistency that actually helps to clean between your teeth and increases saliva production as you chew. But dried fruit has a consistency similar to chewy candy and gets stuck in and around your teeth. With that and the sugar concentration, dried fruit often isn’t much better than chewy candy.
4. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are advertised as helping to give you back essential nutrients that you sweat out. But unless you’re sweating extremely for a long period of time, water can hydrate you just fine. Sports drinks are filled with sugars and acidic flavorings that are bad for your teeth.
Water is one of the best things for your oral health in its liquid form. It helps to rinse bacteria and food particles away from your smile. But it’s dangerous when it’s frozen. Biting down on ice that’s too hard can break or chip your teeth. And a habit of chewing ice frequently, even if it’s thinner ice, increases how quickly your teeth wear down.