Four Foods That Can Damage Your Teeth

Four Foods That Can Damage Your Teeth

Last month, we looked at foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, but whiteness isn’t the only measure of healthy teeth. There are lots of foods that can chip your teeth or damage dental work in your mouth when you eat them. What are some of these problem foods? Your Pocatello, ID dentist can warn you about some of the biggest culprits when it comes to chipped teeth, loose fillings, and broken crowns.

Ice

On a hot summer day, it’s great to fill a tall glass with ice and pour in some soda, lemonade, or tea to help cool down. You’re right if you assume that sugary drinks are bad for your teeth (they are!), but they’re bad in an over-the-long-term kind of way. In fact, lemonade and soda are also quite acidic, which isn’t good for your tooth enamel, either. However, it’s the ice that can actually chip your teeth if you chew it. Other hard foods can damage your teeth, too, so be careful when you’re eating things like baguettes, hard pretzels, and biscotti.

Popcorn

Lots of people enjoy buttered popcorn while sitting in a cool, air-conditioned movie theater, but unpopped kernels can definitely ruin the fun. They’re hard enough to chip a tooth if you crunch down on one of them by accident or on purpose. However, popcorn actually poses a double threat. The thin shell that covers the kernel can actually get stuck between your teeth or between your tooth and gum, giving bacteria a source of food and promoting tooth decay.

Fruits with pits

What do olives, cherries, dates, and peaches all have in common? They all have pits, of course, and those pits can damage teeth. If you accidentally bite into a pit, you can definitely crack or loosen a crown—or damage regular tooth enamel.

Candy

Pretty much every type of candy can damage your teeth. Hard candies can chip teeth if you bite on them or chew them up; if you suck on them and let them dissolve slowly, you’re basically giving your teeth (and the bacteria in your mouth) a sugar bath. Chewy candies, like caramels or taffy, can stick to your teeth, increasing the risk of cavities, or stick to fillings and crowns, loosening them. But sour candies are probably the most damaging of all because they combine three dangers to your teeth all in one. They’re loaded with sugar and they stick to your teeth, but the sour flavor actually comes from acids, which eat away at tooth enamel.

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Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

By this point, it’s pretty clear that people want white teeth. As a country, we spend $1.4 billion on consumer teeth whitening products, and the teeth whitening industry generates over $11 billion a year in revenue. We’re not complaining that people are willing to pay to have white teeth, but it does beg the question—what’s staining our teeth in the first place?

Foods and drinks cause staining in a couple ways. Foods that are high in acid tend to strip away enamel, which exposes the more vulnerable dentin to staining. Many foods—typically ones with natural bright or rich colors—contain chromogens, substances that adhere to tooth enamel and stain it.

Coffee and Tea: Whether you drink coffee or tea to give yourself a quick pick-up, you’re staining your teeth. The acids in these drinks can strip enamel off your teeth—and leave dark stains behind as well. Wine: Most people think of red wine as a culprit for staining, and it is. It’s acidic and contains stain-causing chromogens. However, most people don’t realize that white wine stains teeth—it’s much more acidic, so it strips tooth enamel and leaves them vulnerable to staining from anything else you’re eating at the time. Rich Sauces: Sauces that have a rich color—think tomato sauces and curries—combine both acidity and stain-causing pigments that can darken tooth dentin. Food Coloring: It’s not difficult to imagine why foods high in food coloring stain teeth. After all, they have added chemicals whose sole purpose is to turn the food a bright color! Popsicles and hard candies are big culprits here. Sugary Drinks: Sports drinks, energy drinks, and soda all contain acids and high amounts of sugar that are damaging to your teeth. They can leave your teeth vulnerable to stains from any food coloring in the drink—and cause cavities as well. Balsamic Vinegar: All vinegars are acidic, but balsamic vinegar combines the acidity with darker coloring that can stain dentin. Berries: Cranberries, blueberries, and cherries all contain lots of chromogens and can stain your teeth. In general, if a food (or drink) will leave a stain that is tough to remove from fabric, chances are it will stain your teeth as well.

We’re not recommending that you cut all these foods and drinks out of your diet. It’s just not practical. However, if you want to keep your teeth whiter for longer stretches of time, there are some tips you can use:

Avoid sugary drinks and highly processed sugary treats. They tend to cause tooth decay as well as stains.Drink through a straw. If you’re going to have a sugary or acidic drink, using a straw can largely bring the drink past your teeth, reducing the risk of stains.Brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, or even chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking these trouble foods. It helps remove the stain-causing compounds from your mouth.

You can always use consumer whitening products to reduce stains on your teeth, and in fact, we’ve blogged about them recently! However, if you really want to whiten your teeth as much as possible, we’d love to talk to you and explain the results you can achieve with professional whitening.

To learn more about how to reduce the risk of stains or to schedule an appointment, call your Pocatello, ID dentist at 208.252.7163 today!
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Top Oral Health Benefits of Pumpkin

sugarspice

Dentists Say, “Back Away From the Spiced Latte! But the Pumpkin Can Stay.”

It probably comes as no surprise that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is Starbucks’ most popular seasonal drink of all time. Everything about the pumpkin’s color, aroma, and savory flavor screams fall. Every year coffee enthusiasts eagerly await the release of this highly anticipated beverage, then flock to the coffee shop as soon as it becomes available. At least that is how it has gone for the better part of the last 12 years, since its inception in 2003.

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An Open Letter to Beer Lovers and Brew Enthusiasts

beer

With the joy and revelry of Oktoberfest fading quickly into the past and your lederhosen and suspenders freshly packed away for another year, the post-festivity blues can begin to set in. Even with an array of seasonal holidays on their way, none offer 16 days of merriment in honor of your favorite libation.

Don’t despair! The memories you made enjoying large varieties of beer while eating schweinebraten, yodeling, and dancing the polka will last — and so will your smile after you learn about the post-merriment oral health benefits you received.

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