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Top 7 Foods That (Can) Damage Your Teeth

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

 

Young Girl Brushing Teeth

In addition to regularly practicing healthy oral hygiene habits, it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet for the sake of your teeth!

You probably aren’t surprised to hear that sugary candy can damage your teeth, but you might not know what other (even healthy, anti-inflammatory) foods can damage them.

Luckily, you don’t need to avoid these foods entirely; we’ll give you some tips on how to protect your teeth while enjoying them in moderation.

Woman Smiling

1. Chewy Candy

You might already know that chewy candy is not great for your teeth! Candy, in general, contains a high volume of sugar that can play a key role in tooth decay. Chewy candy, however, poses a bigger problem: Because it’s chewy, it tends to stick to your teeth longer. This means that the sugar has more time to make itself at home and do its damage on your teeth. This same rule applies to other sticky/chewy foods, not just candy (1).

2. Peanut Butter

Uh-oh! Who doesn’t love peanut butter?! The good news is we aren’t saying don’t eat it—just be cautious when you do.

Similar to chewy candy, most peanut butters have a tendency to stick to the roof of your mouth, allowing time to feed the bacteria that causes wear and tear to your enamel. (Another factor is that sometimes our kids have snacks that have peanut butter in them, but are also LOADED with sugar which is part of the problem. Think: peanut butter cookies, etc.)

Not only do some of those snacks have a lot of sugar, but some peanut butter brands themselves have a lot of extra sugar added in, which is also part of the problem. The solution: Find a natural peanut butter without added sugars and be sure to take care of your teeth after eating peanut butter.

3. Sports Drinks & Energy Drinks

Although most sport and energy drinks are marketed to be healthy, they typically aren’t. In fact, in most of these drinks, sugar is at the very top of the ingredient list. Unless you’re an athlete engaging in prolonged, intense exercise, you can probably do without these because they just “sit” on your teeth, doing damage in the process (2).

4. Ice

We’re not saying you need to drink all of your beverages warm, but you should refrain from chewing the leftover ice at the end of your drink. Because of its extremely cold temperature and hard texture, mindlessly munching on ice can chip away at your enamel or even CRACK your teeth!

5. Popcorn

Be careful with that big tub of popcorn at the movies. Although tasty, popcorn creates lactic acid in your mouth, which is damaging to your pearly whites. Everyone knows that popcorn gets stuck in your teeth easily, and this gives it time to do its detrimental work.

Another downside to popcorn is its pesky friends, the un-popped kernels. It’s easy to pop a few in your mouth on accident, which can quickly cause a cracked tooth (3). Yikes!

6. Bread

This one is surprising to most people but when possible, consider your intake of bread. With its light color, soft texture, and lack of sugar, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, most white breads are full of refined carbohydrates that cause your mouth to break down starches into sugars. To help avoid this, stick to whole wheat bread (5). If you can’t avoid bread, be sure to drink a lot of water and to keep up with your other oral health habits!

7. Citrus

Fruits are typically the culprit here, but citrus can also be found in lots of juices and drinks. Although healthy and full of Vitamin C, most fruits and fruit juices are full of acid that can erode your enamel. The most acidic of fruits are lemon and grapefruit (5).
By no means are we saying avoid these fruits entirely—it’s most about making sure we don’t let them “sit” on our teeth or we avoid drinks that are full of sugar and/or acid!

What Can You Do to Protect Your Teeth?

 Enjoy these foods in moderation. Again, you don’t need to eliminate these foods from your diet—part of this is just about being aware that over time, these CAN become an issue. In the case of chewing ice and candy, these are things we CAN avoid, if at all possible.

Brush your teeth after every meal. Brushing helps get deep in between your teeth to remove food particles from your mouth. The less time the food has to sit inside your mouth, the better.

Rinse your teeth with water through your meal and after your meal. While you’re eating, it’s important to drink water to help rinse away the food particles. If you can’t make it to the sink to brush your teeth after a meal, this is the next best thing.

 

Putting Toothpaste on Toothbrush

We’ll Help You Improve Your Oral Health

We want you to have a healthy smile. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question or simply schedule your next check-up. We’ll not only help you protect your teeth, but also provide you with information on how you can protect them from home.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/worst-foods-for-your-teeth#1
  2. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/9-foods-that-damage-your-teeth
  3. http://www.sagedentalcare.com/blog/2013/11/20/8-foods-that-damage-your-teeth/
  4. https://mydental.guardianlife.com/blog/2016/03/8-surprisingly-damaging-foods-for-your-teeth/
  5. https://nano-b.com/blogs/news/the-25-worst-food-and-drinks-for-your-teeth-and-gums

How to Avoid 3 Strikes Against Your Teeth

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

One thing you shouldn’t see at this year’s All Star game held at Great American Ball Park?

Chewing tobacco!

That’s in part because in 2011, Major League Baseball stopped providing their players with smokeless tobacco. Then in 2012, restrictions on smokeless tobacco (which includes chewing tobacco) were implemented for baseball players at many ballparks, including Great American here in Cincinnati.

For years, Major League Baseball has seen the use of tobacco products by its players as a very negative choice for their overall health. They recognized that smokeless tobacco has at least 27 cancer-causing chemicals, and that it is known to directly cause cancer of the mouth, lip, tongue and pancreas. Other effects include oral leukoplakia (white mouth lesions), gum disease, and major gum recession. There is evidence that supports the idea it increases the risks for heart disease and diabetes, among other chronic conditions.

Hagen dental oral health blog cincinnati ohio dentist

In years past, professional baseball players have been known to use smokeless tobacco. The tie to tobacco in general was strong, even in baseball earliest days: in fact, trading cards were actually produced within cigarette packages. That kind of direct tie to tobacco existed before much was known about the consequences of tobacco.

Thankfully, today’s Major League Baseball players are often more educated about the extremely negative effects of smokeless tobacco, and more often than not, they recognize how they are role models for countless people.

Photo credit: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum In the early 1900s, Honus Wagner famously said he would not allow tobacco companies to print his trading card. His baseball card is now one of the rarest and most expensive cards in the world! Photo credit: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Knowing that many people pick up the negative habit by the time they are in high school—when they see their favorite athletes on TV and model their behavior—retired baseball player Sammy Sosa has been strong in his efforts to support tobacco prevention.

Part of that awareness and education was accelerated due to Tony Gwynn, a Major League player who unfortunately died of salivary gland cancer. Before his death, he said he believed it was from years of using chewing tobacco.

His death led to many baseball players, including Stephen Strasburg to quit the habit entirely, and to speak out about it. Strasburg has since said:

“It’s one of those things where I’ve done it for so long it’s just become a habit, a really bad habit…I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it. I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn’t think it was going to be such an addiction. Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family.”

Despite so many players speaking out and being against the use of tobacco, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) says that children often chew tobacco from a young age because of modeling behavior they see, whether it is baseball or another sport.

It is reported that as much as 20 percent of boys in high school use chewing tobacco, and 1 out of 2 in that group develop pre-cancerous patches in their mouth as a result. Many of those tobacco users are boys who play on youth baseball teams.

A prevailing myth is that just because chewing tobacco and other smokeless tobacco does not impact the lungs, it is not as bad for you.

This myth could not be further from the truth!

The truth is that smokeless tobacco leads to higher incidences of cavities and oral cancer. Interestingly, out of a group of men in a study who gave up cigarettes for smokeless tobacco, they still had higher death rates from lung cancer after, according to the American Cancer Society.

Do you have a friend or relative who should read this blog post to know about the risks associated with smokeless tobacco? Be sure to send them information that can prevent them from taking on a bad habit.

Sources