It’s no secret that a balanced and nutritious diet is the key to a healthy life. Our daily food choices can impact everything from our hair and skin to even our teeth. According to the American Dental Association®, eating healthy plays a huge role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease and if you have less than stellar nutrition the first signs will often show up in your mouth. In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are 9 foods that you should definitely avoid if you want to keep your smile glowing.
- Candy – Most candy is chock-full of sugar and constant exposure can cause cavities. Not to mention, hard candies can cause broken or chipped teeth. What’s a better alternative? Try sugarless gum instead. We personally recommend the naturally delicious Glee Gum. Say hi to our friends at Glee for us.
- Ice – How bad can ice be? It’s just water, right? Well, ice is just water so it’s not the nutritional value of ice that’s concerning but rather the fact that it can chip your teeth. Chewing on ice and other hard foods can damage your enamel and cause you to take an unwanted trip to the emergency dentist. Our advice? Skip the ice chewing and enjoy old fashioned liquid water instead.
- Citrus – Listen, we love freshly picked oranges just as much as the next person but unfortunately oranges and their citrus brothers and sisters are highly acidic. Too much exposure to acidic foods can erode enamel making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Not to mention, citrus fruits and juices can irritate mouth sores.
- Coffee – You might have to find another morning pick-me-up because coffee and tea, while in their natural form can be healthy beverages, are not the greatest for your teeth when you add sugar and all of the other popular add-ins. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth and frequent coffee drinkers may have to deal with stained teeth. Advice? If you can’t make it through the day without your cup of Joe, drink plenty of water and keep the cream and sugar add-ons to a minimum.
- Sticky Foods – While dried fruit might sound like the perfect healthy snack, you need be careful because sticky foods, like dried fruit tends to be, can stay on the teeth longer than any other food types. Make sure you rinse with water after eating and brush and floss carefully. Our Floss Sachets are perfect for on-the-go flossing, just sayin’.
- Crunchy Foods – Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing the crunch of a potato chip, am I right? But unfortunately potato chips and other crunchy foods are usually a) not at all a healthy snack and b) filled with starch which can get trapped in your teeth. If you do decide to snack on these crunchtastic treats, make sure you floss to remove the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up. For a healthy alternative check out The 21 Best Organic “Junk Foods” by Rodale’s Organic Life.
- Soda – It doesn’t matter if you call it “soda” or “pop”, soda pop can be bad for your teeth and overall health. When you eat sugary foods or sip on sugary drinks, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel. Most sodas and carbonated beverages are acidic, can dry out your mouth, and are full of sugar so they can be an overall death trap for your teeth. Even diet soda drinkers aren’t out of the clear as some studies suggest that diet soda is actually worse for your health when compared to non-diet soda. Many diet soft drinks contain potentially harmful artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. You can learn about the dangers of aspartame here. Our advice? Drink water instead.
- Alcohol – A glass of bubbly now and then is fine but alcohol can cause dehydration and dry mouth. Excessive alcohol consumption can reduce saliva flow which can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Also heavy alcohol use can increase the risk for mouth cancer. So we’re sticking to the “everything is better in moderation” motto.
- Sports Drinks – You just spent the last hour exercising and what’s the first thing you do when you’re done? Take a long drink from your favorite sports drink, right? While these drinks might help to re-hydrate, their top ingredient is almost always sugar. Which is bad news for your teeth and your workout because after spending an hour on the treadmill, the last thing you want to do is ruin it by drinking a bottle of sugar. Water is our drink of choice. No sugar AND it re-hydrates.