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Foods (And Drinks) That Damage Your Enamel

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Did you know? Your tooth enamel health is directly related to what you are eating, including those beverages you are drinking!

Keeping your teeth healthy involves more than just brushing and flossing.

foods and drinks that can damage your enamel hagen dental

Your enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth. In fact, it’s the hardest substance in the human body—and for good reason! This surface layer helps protect the sensitive inner parts of the tooth from decay and damage. However, even enamel is subject to harm if not treated well. It is normal for some wear and tear to occur, but by focusing on what you are feeding your body (and thus putting into your mouth) you can keep that outer barrier of your teeth stronger (5).

Maintain the Health of Your Enamel

Here are some foods to avoid or minimize for optimum enamel health:

Sugary Foods: Increased sugars feed bacteria in your mouth. Left unchecked, these bacteria produce acidic byproducts, which can soften and slowly wear away at your enamel. Candy, especially sour candies, which are sugar-filled and acidic, are the least friendly combo for your teeth! But sugar doesn’t just hide in candy…Check your food labels on condiments, cereals, and other desserts and snacks for high amounts of added sugar (1, 2).

Sugary Beverages: Just like sugary foods, beverages can be a sneaky source of sugar and acid, ready to harm your enamel! Soda is especially bad, because not only is it sugary, it has additional acidic components. Coffee is high in acidity, and people often load it with syrups or sugars, too! Just imagine what happens if a highly acidic, sugary drink sits on your enamel for hours on end. Try cutting back on that cup of joe, or leaving out the sweetener. Frequent use of sports drinks in recent years, especially in children, has also been shown to harm enamel since the sugar sits on their teeth during activity, in many cases. Even fruit juices should be taken in moderation, because they are high in simple sugars and acid as well (1, 2, 6).enamel facts hagen dental

Foods that give you heartburn: Severe heartburn means stomach acid is moving up the esophagus. Those stomach acids that escape the stomach can reach your mouth and erode the enamel as well. So if you have certain foods that trigger heartburn, avoid them (1).

Ice: Simply put, ice is for chilling, not chewing! But isn’t water good for you? Yes! And ice is fine in your beverages – but avoid chewing on it! Chewing on hard substances such as ice can damage the enamel. The same is true for very hard candies that you crunch on (3, 6).

Citrus Fruit: Fruits are an excellent choice for incorporating more vitamins into your diet, especially the citrus variety. But heed this warning: frequent exposure to acidic foods, such as citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, limes and lemons, can erode your enamel over time. Your best bet? Eat these foods as part of a meal, rather than by themselves (3, 6).

Sticky Foods: Sticky foods, such as sticky candies, taffy, caramels, or even dried fruit such as raisins, can leave residue in your teeth, which means the sugar will sit on the enamel, leaving a food source for bacteria, which will in turn release enamel-damaging acid (2, 3, 6). Limit your intake of these foods to avoid potential damage to your enamel over time.

Starchy Foods: Starch-filled foods, such as potato chips, cookies, cakes, muffins and other starchy, processed snacks, tend to get trapped in your teeth. These starchy carbohydrates stay in your mouth and breakdown into sugar and acid more slowly, thus creating a longer period of sugar and acid threat to the teeth. Bacteria in your mouth love to feed on the left-behind sugars from these foods (3, 4, 6).

Protect Your Enamel

Analyze your diet over the next few weeks to discover which of these simple, daily changes you could make to ensure better health and protection for your enamel! Call Hagen Dental at (513) 251-5500 or visit our website here to learn more.


Sources/References

  1. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-mouth-15/beautiful-smile/tooth-enamel-damage
  2. http://www.divinecaroline.com/self/wellness/mind-your-mouth-seven-foods-damage-tooth-enamel
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/9-Foods-That-Damage-Your-Teeth/
  4. http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/foodstuffs-that-can-attack-teeth.html
  5. https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/tooth-enamel
  6. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips