When it comes to what we eat and drink, we often think more about what is healthy for our bodies, and understandably so. However, we can often overlook the effect that certain foods can have on our teeth, whether it’s causing stains, build-up of acids and sugars, or even reducing the harm other foods have done. From the obvious benefits of water and staining from coffee to a few snacks you might not have realised were good or bad for you, here are 5 foods that help and 5 foods that hurt your teeth.
The Foods That Help
1 – Strawberries
Strawberries likely aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of foods that are good for your teeth. They’re red and staining, sweet and acidic, but did you know that they’re actually better for you than you’d expect? The acid content is a good natural whitener and can help kick start the whitening process and keep your teeth free of minor stains.
2 – Sugar-Free Chewing Gum
Sugar-free chewing gum may not necessarily be considered ‘food’ in every sense, however, modern gums could be good for your teeth! Popping in a piece of gum after you eat a meal if you don’t have immediate access to your toothbrush could help to dislodge food that’s stuck between your teeth and helps produce more saliva to neutralise and clear out your mouth. It should never be used as a replacement for brushing but can be a great way to maintain your smile between brushing.
3 – Green and Black Teas
Green and black teas both contain something called polyphenols, which can interact with bacteria and either kill it off or reduce or prevent its growth. It can help to prevent bacteria from growing further or producing the acid that ultimately damages the teeth, and in some cases, can even be a good source of fluoride (depending on the water you use!).
4 – Water
Water is arguably the least harmful drink you could consume and actually does your teeth a world of good. Drinking water can help to rinse your teeth of sugar and acid build-up between brushes. Most water also contains fluoride, a mineral that ultimately protects your teeth against decay and erosion.
5 – Cheese and Dairy
Cheese and other dairy products are surprisingly good for your smile, not least due to the level of calcium in this particular food group. Calcium goes a long way to help you maintain healthy and strong teeth, but it’s the PH level in cheese and dairy products that can offer immediate help for your teeth. These foods help to balance out the pH levels in your mouth, neutralising acids and helping to create more supportive saliva that can cleanse and wash out your mouth.
The Foods That Hurt
1 – Citrus Fruit
While citrus fruits may be good for you, not least due to their abundance of Vitamin C, their acidic nature can actually do more harm than good when it comes to your teeth. The highly acidic fruits can speed up decay and erosion of the enamel on our teeth, leading to sensitivity and sometimes even cavities. For a good source of Vitamin C that doesn’t require eating too many citrus fruits, orange juice can offer the same benefits with a reduced risk of enamel erosion.
2 – Sweets and Chews
We all love a sweet treat every now and then, but the stickiest and chewiest sweets can be incredibly harmful to our teeth! The chewier the sweet, the more damaging it can be. Fruit chews, caramels, toffee and other similar sweets can get stuck on and between your teeth, and the high sugar content leads to increased bacteria in our mouths. Bacteria feed off sugar, creating more acid and faster decay and discolouration.
3 – Coffee
For avid coffee drinkers, the thought of giving up the caffeinated beverage can be daunting – but did you know just how much staining it can cause? Drinking coffee regularly can lead to staining over time, building up unsightly discolouration that is incredibly resistant to toothbrushing. Coffee stains can also attract food particles and other bacteria which may ultimately lead to further damage.
4 – Fizzy Drinks
Fizzy drinks and carbonated beverages are notorious for causing damage to our teeth and can be some of the most harmful drinks to consume. In fact, carbonated sugary drinks are reported to be worse for your teeth than standard sugary beverages. Carbonated drinks are said to be more acidic and more corrosive overall, with a higher acidic content overall. If you want to enjoy a fizzy drink, drink it alongside a meal, so the food can neutralise the acid and protect your teeth, and make sure to brush your teeth once you’re done!
5 – Crisps and Other Starchy Foods
Crisps and other potato-based snacks can be more harmful to your teeth than you might think! Due to the level of starch in potatoes, these foods are more inclined to stick to your teeth and get stuck in the gaps. The starch can then break down into sugars and cause tooth decay if you don’t brush and floss properly. You could also see plaque build-up if your teeth aren’t cleaned properly following the consumption of starchy foods like crisps.
If you have experienced teeth discolouration or staining, all hope is not lost! Teeth whitening offers a safe and pain-free method for giving you a whiter smile, using approved gels and systems to bring your teeth back to a bright and clean appearance. Want to know more? Get in touch or visit our teeth whitening page, today.