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Foods that Can Damage the Teeth

By on January 18, 2012

There are many types of foods that can damage the teeth. Acidic foods such as fruits eat away at a person's tooth enamel, while sugary foods such as candy feed the lactic acid-producing bacteria that live in your mouth. As the tooth enamel erodes as a result of high acidic content in the mouth, the teeth become more susceptible to decay and cavities.

Chewy and crunchy foods can also damage the teeth. Crunchy foods may cause chips or cracks in the teeth, while chewing on sticky foods can pull patients' dental fillings or crowns loose. In this blog post, Philadelphia cosmetic dentist Bruce Wilderman reviews the types of foods that can damage your teeth.

Acidity and Erosion of Tooth Enamel

When foods with high acidic content are consumed, the acid will begin to erode the teeth if the mouth is not immediately rinsed with water. Surprisingly, you should not brush their teeth immediately after eating acidic foods; brushing the teeth right after consumption makes it easier for the acid to spread and penetrate the tooth enamel. Instead, you should rinse your mouth out with water after eating acidic foods, and then brush your teeth about an hour later.

Highly acidic foods include:

  • Lemons
  • Grapefruits
  • Limes
  • Pineapples
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Jellies and jams
  • Vinegar
  • Salad dressings
  • Fruit juice
  • Sodas

Medium acidic foods include:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Nectarines
  • Mangos
  • Figs
  • Tomatoes
  • Wine

Low acidic foods include:

  • Breads
  • Cheese
  • Grains
  • Most vegetables

Sugary Foods and Tooth Decay

Sugary foods lead to plaque build-up and high acid content in the mouth. For these reasons, it is important that you limit your consumption of sugary foods. When foods that are high in sugar content are consumed, patients should brush their teeth as soon as possible. If this is not possible, rinse your mouth out with water and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your saliva flow.

Sugary foods include:

  • Bread
  • Some cereals
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Canned fruits
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams and jellies
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Ice cream
  • Most condiments
  • Fruit juices

Crunchy Foods and Tooth Breakage

Chewing on crunchy foods can put a lot of stress on the teeth, especially if the tooth is already weak or damaged. Consumption of these foods can result in tooth cracks, chips, and damaged restorations. To keep your teeth healthy, you may want to avoid some of these foods:

  • Hard candy
  • Hard bread
  • Bacon
  • Corn nuts
  • Ice
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn

Chewy Foods and Damaged Dental Restorations

Sticky foods can pull dental restorations loose. If you have dental fillings, dental crowns, or dental bridges, you may want to avoid or limit your consumption of chewy foods. Sticky foods may also dislodge porcelain veneers or dental bonding materials, so patients that have undergone these cosmetic dentistry treatments should exercise caution when eating chewy foods. Examples of sticky foods include:   

  • Caramel, jellybeans, licorice, taffy, and other chewy candies
  • Fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks
  • Beef jerky
  • Gum

For additional oral hygiene tips and a comprehensive dental exam, contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry to schedule your appointment with Dr. Bruce Wilderman.

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