Why be concerned about happy, strong teeth? There is an adage by an unknown author that says: “Ignore your teeth and they’ll go away”. It’s very true. Watching what you eat affects the health of your teeth. Certain foods can cause plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a bacteria-based film that clings to your teeth, and you know what that means. It contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. Then, if you don’t brush and floss … you could just lose your teeth.

After you eat a snack or meal, the sugars from the sweeteners and the carbohydrates cause the bacteria to release acid that attacks tooth enamel. When enamel breaks down, it causes cavities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cavities are the most chronic disease for people six to 19 years old.

What to Avoid for Happy, Strong, Teeth: It’s Not all Candy, Cake, Cookies, and Ice Cream

Here are the top 9 worst things to put in your mouth for happy, strong, and healthy teeth. Some may surprise you.

1. Sour Candies

Every kid and even some adults love Sour Patch Kids. The brightly colored, sweet-smelling candy lightly dusted with powdery sugar is a great treat. Sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids that are bad for your teeth. Plus, they are sticky and adhere tightly to your teeth. Instead of sour candy, have a piece of chocolate instead—dark chocolate also can help relieve stress and satisfy that need for a sweet treat! (Now, isn’t that a happy note for happy teeth?)

2. Bread

Think twice when you walk by that bread aisle in the supermarket. In particular, white bread is not good for your teeth. Why? When you chew on bread, you break down the bread’s starches (carbohydrates/carbs) into sugar. This becomes a gummy-paste like substance that sticks finds a home in the crevices between your pearly whites. Instead of white bread, try less-refined whole wheat or multi-grain breads that contain less carbohydrates!

3. Alcohol

Believe it or not, alcohol can cause dry mouth which breeds decay. Always drink alcohol in moderation and follow it up with plenty of water. Having light alcohol like a wine spritzer would help maintain teeth health. Be conscious of hi-caloric drinks like beer, and many of the sweet mixed drinks.

4. Carbonated Drinks

Everyone knows that drinking soda is a common bad habit. A recent study in the National Library of Medicine also said that drinking large amounts of soda can cause as much damage as methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Basically, if you drink soda all the time you are coating your teeth in acids. Dentists and dental hygienists recommend you brush your teeth after you drink soda. You see, the sugar content matters, but so does the acidic contents, too.

5. Ice

People love crunchy ice especially on a hot summer day. According to the American Dental Association, chewing on a hard substance can damage tooth enamel. As a result, you might find yourself with chipped, cracked, broken teeth or loosened crowns. Instead of chewing on ice, try very chilled water or not putting ice in your drinks.

6. Citrus

Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes can contain the Vitamin C you need. However, their acid content can erode and affect your teeth. In addition, many citrus juices contain a great deal of natural sugar. So, just like carbonated drinks, citrus fruit presents a double whammy on your teeth. Take your Vitamin C in multivitamin form or enjoy your favorite juice but rinse with water afterwards.

7. Potato Chips

Potato chips have that satisfying crunch! Unfortunately, they also have plenty of starch (carbs) which turns into sugars. You can never eat just one, so that makes the problem with your teeth worse.

8. Dried Fruits

Like sticky sour candy, dried fruits can also stick to teeth and leave behind sugar on your teeth. Instead try fresh fruit like a great crunchy sweet apple. Caramels aren’t the only sweet thing that presents problems for fillings and caps, dried fruit does, too.

9. Coffee, Tea, and your Teeth

Coffee or tea is not for me; you may want to repeat that mantra in your head for good oral health! The acid in coffee and tea not only stains your teeth, but it also can erode the enamel. In addition, people add sugar, creams, and syrups. That compounds the problem.

No One is Perfect about Protecting Their Teeth

Filling your mouth with some of these 9 items is going to happen. However, you can battle that by creating new habits. Rinse your mouth with lots of water afterwards and then be sure to brush and floss at least twice daily.

Keep on a regular bi-annual schedule for check-ups and cleanings. Pay attention to what you put in your mouth and how you take care of every tooth every day. It’s so much easier than dealing with cavities and other problems.

Come see us at Danville Family Dentistry. Call 317-745-4400 to make an appointment. Dr. Jon and all of us will be happy to see you and help you keep your teeth happy, healthy, and strong.

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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.