There are many foods that common sense tells you wouldn’t be good for your teeth. It’s easy to see why hard or sticky candies and regular soda would be bad for your teeth, but did you know that seemingly healthy foods like dried fruit can also have a negative effect on your dental health? Below you will find some of the more surprising foods and drinks that can harm your teeth.
Dried fruit, including raisins, stick to the surfaces of your teeth and find their way into the spaces between your teeth. While the sugars in dried fruit are natural, they can still cause dental damage if they stick to your teeth for long periods of time. Some dried fruits even have extra sugar added to them. If you are going to enjoy dried fruit, remember to brush and floss after eating it.
Most people don’t eat many lemons by themselves, though some people love the tart fruit. I mention this fruit specifically because of the wildly popular Dr. Oz recommendation to naturally whiten your teeth by using baking soda and lemons. I have seen this recommendation posted repeatedly to Pinterest and I wanted to address it here. Lemons are very acidic, having a pH of 2 (keep in mind that battery acid has a pH of 1). This acid bath is not healthy for dental enamel.
Bagels, Cereal Bars, Muffins
These quick on the go breakfast ideas vary greatly in their nutritional and sugar content, but they all share the attribute of gumming up and sticking to your molars. Run your tongue over your back teeth the next time you eat a bagel and you will find a surprising amount of that bagel clinging to your teeth. These foods can be especially tricky because your children can grab them on their way out the door leaving them to sit on their teeth for hours before they brush.
So grab and go bready breakfast foods aren’t great, but sitting down with a bowl of cereal might not be much better. Before purchasing cereal, look at the sugar grams on the label. This one factor is a big indicator of the cereal’s potential effect on your teeth and overall health. Even cereals that are perceived as a health food, like granola, are often full of sugar. Add to that the fact that many cereals also form a sticky residue on your teeth and you may have a problem on your hands. It’s best to brush and floss your teeth after eating breakfast and heading out for the day.
It is easy to understand why regular sodas that are heavy laden with sugar would be bad for your teeth, but diet sodas can also damage your teeth due to their acidic nature. If you can’t beat the diet soda habit, consider using a straw to help some of the soda bypass your teeth and avoiding sipping soda all day.
If you attend any child’s sporting event, you will see how popular so-called “sports drinks” have become. I wrote an article that addressed the potential dental issues from sports drinks here.
Dental issues from drinking fruit juice are more common in the pre-school crowd because many parents feel this is a healthy option for their children. Even 100% natural fruit juices can be harmful to young teeth due to their acidic nature and natural sugars. The problem is greater when children sip fruit juices from sippy cups throughout their day.