It’s the holidays and sweet treats are everywhere! We’ve had it trained into our heads since we were kids that if you eat too many sweets, we will have a mouth full of cavities the next time we visit the dentist. It turns out that’s not quite true; surprisingly, the foods to avoid are not all sweets.
Sugar isn’t the cause of tooth decay – acidly is. When you eat something that contains sugar, bacteria that naturally reside in your mouth consume this sugar as well.
Bacteria’s waste product is acid, so after the bacteria have a meal, they expel acid, which is what causes problems for teeth. Acid decalcifies or demineralizes tooth enamel by taking away its structure, creating decay.
Let’s run down a list of some popular foods that are actually worse for your teeth than candy!
Saltines: Saltine crackers are worse than candy for your teeth because they’re a fermentable and highly processed starch. Many people don’t realize that most crackers are highly processed and contain genetically engineered ingredients.
Goldfish: Ever notice how saltine crackers or Goldfish become sticky in your mouth as you’re chewing them? That sticky goo gets stuck between your teeth and the bacteria can feast for even longer.
Dried Fruit: When the fruit is dried, all of its water is removed, causing the naturally present sugars to become extremely concentrated. Their gumminess clings to teeth just like candy and traps cavity-causing bacteria and sugars on the teeth.
Hard Candy: When it comes to cavity formation, the best sweets are the ones you eat all at once. Sucking on hard candy exposes the teeth to sugar and acids for an extended period of time.
Grapefruit: People think grapefruit is a great breakfast, but in fact, it’s very acidic and it literally dissolves enamel.
Coffee: Tannic acids naturally found in coffee can break down your tooth enamel, causing decay.
Diet Soda: When they take out the sugar, they add phosphoric acid, which can dissolve the calcium found in the enamel of your teeth.
Bottled Lemon Iced Tea: Some bottled lemon iced teas have a pH of 2.97, which is about the same as drinking a spoonful of vinegar, acid-wise.
We hope you feel better knowing that you can still enjoy your favorite sweets – in moderation – this holiday season. But be sure to call our office soon to schedule your next appointment.