We use our teeth constantly, and yet often take them for granted. What you choose to eat and drink, however, has a big impact on your oral health and can impact your teeth down the road. Certain foods and drinks can cause different problems, so here’s a few to watch out for.
Despite their other healthy attributes, citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit actually have acids that can wear away your tooth enamel. Other low ph foods and drinks do the same, including tomato products, coffee, and alcohol. According to 123Dentist, once the tooth enamel was worn down, the process of demineralization begins, which often is the beginning of tooth decay. To combat this, make sure to drink water along with acidic food and, though it is smart to brush your teeth after every meal, to not do so immediately after eating something acidic so as to not brush away the enamel the acid has softened.
As Showtime Smiles points out, many foods such as coffee and tea or curry can cause your teeth to discolor. This is because some foods and many drinks have dyes, tannic acid, or chromogens that can stain tooth enamel. There are many examples of things with dark dyes in them, including wine, soda, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, beets, grape or cranberry juice, and even popsicles. Extrinsic staining is often the result. As mentioned earlier, brushing your teeth after every meal is always a good idea, but it is also a great way to lessen the effect of food stains on your enamel.
Certain foods that are hard to remove from the teeth can contribute to inflammation of the gums. Sugary drinks, tobacco, alcohol, chips, seeds, and popcorn are a few examples of foods that for a variety of reasons cause swelling. Bacteria buildup in the mouth, a common side effect of eating a lot of sugar, can inflame gums, causing pain in the mouth and making it harder to floss. Flossing, however, is one of the best ways to avoid gum inflammation and pain if food particles such as these have become stuck. Consider taking these foods out of your regular diet for better dental health.
Good dental health too often doesn’t become a priority until people experience bad dental health. But being aware of your diet now—especially the sugary foods and tannic acids—can save you a lot of pain later. Especially if, no matter what you eat, you follow the tried and true advice to brush those teeth!
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