Halloween is right around the corner, and with it comes fistfuls of candy and other sweet treats. But while trick-or-treating or noshing on some sugar may be fun, it’s not great for your teeth. It’s fine to enjoy treats in moderation, but when it comes to dental health, sweets are at the top of the list of things to avoid. Here are five foods that are really bad for your teeth.
1) Gummy and hard candies. Gummy candies can damage your teeth because they stick to teeth longer and are loaded with sugar. Hard candies put your teeth at risk because in addition to being chock full of sugar, they can trigger a dental emergency such as a chipped tooth. They can damage your enamel, too.
2) Sports drinks and soda. Sports drinks may sound healthy, but sugar is the top ingredient. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sports drinks can be helpful for athletes engaged in prolonged physical activities, but unnecessary in most cases. Soda is another culprit. It’s both acidic and loaded with sugar, which corrodes teeth. And caffeinated beverages can dry out your mouth. Water is a better alternative, but check to make sure water is the only ingredient. Some bottled waters like Dasani are acidic because of additives. Smartwater is a better choice.
3) Starchy foods. Unfortunately bread, rice, crackers and potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth and cause plaque build-up. That can lead to gum problems and cavities. When you eat starches like these, take extra care when you floss to remove all food particles.
4) Citrus foods and drinks. Frequent exposures to these acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time. So even though a squeeze of lemon or lime can enhance your beverage, it’s not the best choice for your teeth. Citrus fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores.
5) Coffee and tea. Coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices, but unfortunately many people add sugar to them. In addition, frequently drinking coffee and tea can stain your teeth, and caffeine can dry out your mouth. If you do consume these beverages, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.
Remember it is best to wait at least 30-45 minutes to brush after you eat acidic foods! If you consume these foods often, you might want to think about fluoride treatment.
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