Have you ever stopped to think about how the food and drink that you put into your body affects your teeth? According to the American Dental Association, your diet plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile. When you eat food, the bacteria in your mouth digests the sugars and produces acid. Certain foods can erode your tooth enamel quicker, resulting in cavities. As the protective layer against tooth decay, enamel cannot be reproduced after its lost.

The fact is, you may be eating harmful foods for your teeth and not even realize it. Here’s a list of top five foods that have the greatest negative effect.

1. Fruit Juices

Juice in a Glass

Fruit juices are loaded with acids that wear down tooth enamel. In excessive amounts, fruit juices can expose your teeth to damaging amounts of acidity. Research shows that people who sip their drink slowly over 20 minutes are actually more likely to have tooth erosion than those who finish a drink quickly.

Furthermore, research indicates that orange juice can decrease your enamel hardness by 84 percent. But this doesn’t mean you should stop drinking fruit juice altogether! Instead of sipping throughout the day, reduce the exposure to your mouth by drinking it in one sitting. We also recommend using a straw to minimize the fruit juice contact with your teeth.

  1. 2. Dried Fruit

    Clusters of Dried Fruit

Dried fruit may seem like a healthy snack alternative to chips or candy, however, dried fruit containshigh concentrated sugars. In excess, dried fruits can act likesticky caramel in your mouth. Their gumminess can easily get stuck and cling to your teeth, leaving behind sugar residue. If you don’t want to cut out dried fruit, make sure that you drink water or brush your teeth afterward to rinse out the excess sugar.

  1. 3. Popcorn

Popcorn is one of the worst dental offenders. It’s almost impossible to eat popcorn without getting some of it stuck in your teeth. The thin shell that surrounds the kernel can easily lodge between the gums and teeth. Chewing on un-popped kernels can also crack or even break a tooth. You don’t have to avoid popcorn entirely. However, just remember to carefully floss afterwards.

  1. 4. Pickles

Many people don’t realize that pickles can be damaging to teeth enamel. Like citrus fruits, the main harmful culprit in pickles is acid. All pickled foods use vinegar, which contains high acid content. Along with brushing or rinsing, you can eat a piece of cheese or chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to help neutralize the acid from pickles.

half loaf of bread

  1. 5. White Bread

Foods that contain refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, cookies and crackers, can cause havoc on your teeth. As the starch breaks down while you chew, it can ferment in your mouth and erode your tooth enamel.

Schedule an Appointment at Your Tacoma Family Dentist

It’s recommended you a visit a dentist at least twice a year to maintain optimal oral health. Regular, professional teeth cleaning help reduce plaque, remove tartar and catch any early signs of tooth damage, decay or cavities. During your cleaning, your Tacoma dentist will also carefully exam your mouth to identify gum disease, oral cancer or other dental problems you may have.

If you would like additional information on how to best protect your teeth, schedule your next visit to Plancich Dental today.