We all know about the major bad guys that have a big impact on our teeth – soda, candy, and other excessively sweet treats. But without an understanding of why those foods lead to dental problems, it’s hard to know what else to avoid (and what to embrace). Chances are, there’s a dentally dangerous snack lurking in your fridge or pantry right now.
Of course, life is short, and you can’t spend every day putting your teeth first. But checking in with our recommendations will help you establish eating patterns that help you avoid cavities and simplify your daily oral hygiene. If you’re tired of turning up cavities at your dental exams, take this opportunity to rethink your daily diet and make some tooth- (and body-) friendly adjustments. What’s good for your smile is good for your whole self!
What to Watch For When Choosing Your Diet
“Healthy” but overly sweet snacks – Granola bars, dried fruit, and smoothies are all good for you, right? While they may offer certain enviable vitamins, the sugar content is sky-high, and sticky bars and fruit tend to cling to your teeth and expose the enamel to acids. Try to choose fresh fruit and vegetables instead.
Dark liquids – Beverages like coffee, red wine, black tea, and cola pose a triple threat: they’re sweet, they’re acidic, and they stain. Your enamel is porous, and dark particles from drinks like these become lodged in the surface and darken your smile. Coffee can also lead to bad breath.
Foods containing small seeds – Berry seeds, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds can get stuck throughout your teeth, whether they land between teeth or in their bite surfaces. These don’t just detract from your smile’s appearance, but can also be overlooked during oral hygiene and cause irritation or tooth damage.
Red meat – There are quite a few foods that are better avoided because of their tendency to become lodged between your teeth. Red meat, corn on the cob, and stringy fruits all require some floss to get totally cleaned from your smile. If the meat has barbecue sauce, it’s sweeter and therefore more dangerous to your enamel.
How to Engage with Healthier Eating
Pack a lunch – Plenty of us fall prey to fast food or sugar-laden on-the-go snacks to boost our energy during the workday. If you take a moment each night to pack a lunch for the next day, you can have healthy food on hand that’s ready to eat as soon as you get peckish.
Participate in educated grocery shopping – It might take a little more time to be thoughtful about what your purchase, but it will end up benefiting your smile and your entire body. Take a moment to check the nutritional facts before adding a new food to the cart; you may be surprised to see how much sugar is added to many processed foods.
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