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The Worst Foods (and Drinks!) For Your Teeth

You may have heard the concept that there are no bad foods when it comes to dieting, but that phrase doesn’t quite apply to your oral health. Unfortunately, when it comes to your teeth, there are bad foods or at least some foods that are worse for your teeth than others.

Here is a list of some of the worst offenders, and what you can do to protect yourself if decide to eat or drink them.

Sugary Drinks 
Sugary drinks are getting a lot of bad press these days thanks to the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. There was a bit of an outrage when people realized that one 16 ounce drink contains a whopping 62 grams of sugar. But before you start that angry email to Starbucks, consider the sugar content in some of America’s other best-loved drinks. For example, a 20-ounce bottle of regular Coca Cola has 65 grams of sugar, and many other Frappuccinos on the Starbucks menu have the same if not more sugar. Even a glass of regular apple juice boasts an astounding 62 ounces of sugar per 20 ounces of juice.

Though indulging in sugary drinks once in a while isn’t a big deal, when possible, swap out sugary drinks for lower sugar options or rinse your mouth out with water after drinking sweet drinks, so the sugar isn’t just sitting on your teeth until your next meal. Also, remember to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after drinking a highly acidic drink like coffee or citrus juices. This will prevent you from damaging your tooth’s enamel, which becomes softer when exposed to acidic drinks. Brushing enamel when soft can cause your toothbrush to damage your teeth permanently!

Gummy candy and Fruit Snacks 
A popular snack among the toddler and preschool set, fruit snacks are supposed to be the healthier alternative to gummy bears. Unfortunately, even the ones that proudly proclaim to be made with real fruit juice are still dangerous to your teeth. Thanks to their sticky nature, gummy candies outstay their welcome on your kids’ teeth by hanging around in the mouth way longer than most other snacks, and because they’re basically pure sugar and along with some natural (and unnatural) colors, citric acid, and gelatin, they’re basically breeding grounds for cavities. Worst of all, unlike gummy bears, fruit snacks are actually stickier than their less-healthy counterparts, so you may be better off just sticking to gummy bears for occasional treats.

Potato Chips 
Potato chips are a great way to solve a salt craving, but they’re not so great for your teeth. For kids with braces, the crunch of chips may cause braces wires to break. For all of us, they can encourage the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities.

Hard Candies
Hard candies may seem like a safer bet due to their small size and low-fat content, but they’re more dangerous than they look. First of all, they are pure sugar, which is held in your mouth until it dissolves completely due to the saliva in your mouth. So, instead of chewing and swallowing the candy, the sugar is just hanging out in your mouth and on your teeth, feeding the bacteria that causes cavities. But don’t think the solution to this problem is to crunch the candy, either! That could cause everything from chipped teeth to cracked fillings, not to mention the fact that when you crunch hard candies, you could be getting little bits of broken candy stuck in your teeth!

Alcohol 
In addition to causing mouth and throat cancer, alcohol also causes a more immediate problem: dry mouth. Dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria because there is not enough saliva to adequately wash the bad bacteria away. This can encourage everything from tooth decay to gum disease, which could lead to periodontitis and the loss of teeth, gums, and jaw bones!

Remember, occasional indulgence in these foods probably won’t do too much damage to your oral health, especially if you take great care of your teeth in the interim. If you do decide to eat or drink any of these offenders, make sure you brush and floss afterward, and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking. And remember to schedule regular visits for dental cleanings and exams. Haven't scheduled yours yet? No problem, give Dr. Hill's office a call at 469-640-9550.

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