We all know that sugary soda, candy and especially chewy sweets like taffy are bad for your teeth. But did you know that your daily fruit smoothie, which is so healthy for the rest of your body, can lead to tooth decay? Here are some surprising foods that can damage your teeth. We’ll also let you know what you can do to minimize the harmful effects.
Hot Lemon Water – Good for Detox, Bad for Teeth
A popular tonic for detoxifying the body is hot water and lemon juice. However, lemon juice, even when it’s directly from a fresh lemon, can damage tooth enamel.
Careful with Those Ice Cubes!
You may think that munching on ice cubes, or even crushed ice left over from your summer drink, is a great way to stay cool. Ice can also satisfy a hunger craving with no calories. But crunching ice may make teeth more vulnerable to future damage. You might even accidentally chip a tooth!
Tea, Coffee and Stained Teeth
In addition to tobacco, the most common causes of stained teeth are tea and coffee. If they’re consumed daily without brushing or rinsing afterwards, the stains can increase. It’s the tannin compounds in the tea and coffee that turn your teeth yellow. If you think that healthy green tea doesn’t stain your teeth, think again. Green tea also contains tannins.
The Dental Dangers of Fruit Smoothies and Fruit Juices
Another popular health-conscious drink is a fruit smoothie, since they contain fiber and important nutrients. However, the natural sugars in fruits can be extremely damaging to teeth, eroding the tooth’s enamel and causing tooth decay. This sugar, if not rinsed away, feeds bacteria that resides in the mouth, which may lead to the formation of cavities. Commercial fruit juices are even worse, because many contain added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
Natural Sugar and Your Teeth
If your diet contains a lot of sugar that causes your insulin levels to rise and fall suddenly, over time this could alter the structure of collagen tissue fibers that hold your teeth together. This may in turn harm your gums.
What You Can Do to Improve Oral Health
Don’t despair! You can still enjoy your smoothies, fruit juices, morning cup of joe and herbal teas without damaging your teeth. Here are some tips on how to minimize the danger.
- Don’t let it linger – Use a straw to sip on fruit juice or a smoothie throughout the day, so it won’t hang around in your mouth and cause problems.
- Combat the harmful effects of fruit juice – After drinking your juice with a straw, wait at least 30 minutes and then brush your teeth. Make sure you brush at the gum line, so that you remove food and bacteria that have gotten trapped between your gums.
- Stop the Swishing! – If it’s too weird to drink a warm beverage through a straw, at least sip it right down, rather than swishing it around in your mouth.
- Try a veggie smoothie – Instead of a fruit smoothie, try one made of vegetables. It’s just as healthy and is less damaging to the teeth.
- Beware the high protein, low carb diet – If you’re limiting carbs to cut down on calories, you might get bad breath due to chemicals called ketones. They get released in the body when you’re burning fat. Rather that eliminating carbs completely, substitute healthy whole grain pasta and whole grain bread.
- The importance of vitamins and minerals – If you’ve given up certain foods because of a special diet or dietary restriction, make sure you get the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy teeth and gums. Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for your teeth are calcium, iron and vitamins B3, B2, B12, C and D. Consider dietary supplements or a daily vitamin and mineral formula.
- Water, water, water! – In addition to washing away leftover sugar, bacteria and residue from food, water also prevents dry mouth. Proper hydration keeps the saliva in your mouth flowing, and your saliva contains proteins and minerals that helps to protect tooth enamel, preventing decay and gum disease.