What Are the Worst Foods for Your Dental Health?

dental cleaningsMany of us know that consuming too many sugary foods and beverages can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and a slew of other complications.

But there are other foods and drinks that aren’t necessarily sugar-laden, but still take a significant toll on your dental health and the appearance of your teeth. As a result, your diet might be harming your teeth without you even knowing it! With the popularity of teeth whitening procedures rising by more than 300% in the last five years, and 75% of people reporting feeling that an unattractive smile is harmful to one’s success, you can’t afford to let your diet have an adverse impact on your teeth.

Which foods should you be avoiding? To make sure your dental cleanings are quick, easy and cavity-free, the American Dental Association recommends that you avoid these foods — or enjoy them in moderation:

Hard candies
As stated before, too much exposure to sugary foods leaves your teeth highly vulnerable to decay. Because hard candies stay in your mouth for at least an hour before dissolving, they are able to do even more damage. And before you bite down on a hard candy, beware — biting down on hard foods like these can lead to emergencies like broken, chipped or fractured teeth.

Too many citrus fruits
Citrus fruits — lemons, limes and oranges — are all great dietary choices for the health-conscious dieter. They’re rich in vitamins and fiber, and are low in calories. Sadly, eating too much citrus throughout the day could be harmful. In addition to the high sugar content of citrus fruits, they’re also packed with citric acid — which eats away at your teeth’s natural protective layer of enamel. Enjoy citrus fruits in moderation, and drink plenty of water to offset their effects on your teeth.

Sticky foods
Sticky foods don’t just include taffy and other candies — dried fruit can also stick to teeth, exposing them to sugar longer. When snacking on trail mix or dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, be sure to drink lots of water in addition to frequently brushing and flossing your teeth. Your dentist will appreciate your efforts at your subsequent dental cleanings!

This one isn’t really a food — but many people have a habit of chewing on ice. It’s a habit that jeopardizes your teeth every time you bite down. Chewing on ice damages the enamel of your teeth, and can even break or chip your teeth in certain cases. If you can’t break your ice habit, simply suck on an ice cube — no chewing! — or drink some chilled water.

Have any other questions or comments for us on how to find a local dentist office or what to expect during dental exams and dental cleanings? Share all your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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