Your oral health is determined by how healthy your teeth, gums, and jawbones are. It determines your overall health. Thus, poor oral health can compromise your well-being. So many things affect your oral health, including what you eat and what you fail to eat. Dentists recommend a balanced diet to keep your teeth beautiful and strong and your gums healthy. If you wonder what foods affect your teeth, you can speak to an experienced dentist. They will help you determine the foods you must remove from your diet, what you should avoid altogether, and what you should increase for excellent oral and general health.

Foods and Drinks That Affect Your Teeth

What you eat and drink contributes positively, or otherwise, to your health. Since oral health is part of your general well-being, some foods will affect your teeth, while others will help. For example, dentists advise against candy as it rots the natural teeth. You could have damaged teeth due to enamel erosion if you habitually consume seltzer. Candies and seltzers are only examples of treats that affect the natural teeth. It leaves you wondering what other foods, drinks, and snacks harm your teeth.

Typically, all types of foods and drinks can cause tooth decay. Remember that decay occurs mainly due to stuck food particles in the mouth. When these particles combine with harmful bacteria, they produce a destructive acid that erodes your enamel, causing your teeth to develop cavities. While that is true, it helps to know that all foods do not have the same harmful effects on your teeth. Also, some people are more likely to develop cavities than others.

When it comes to foods and drinks that can harm your teeth, here are some essential facts to keep in mind:

Some Foods Are More Harmful Than Others

If you want to know how good a particular snack, drink, or meal is for your teeth, you must consider its quality and composition. Your mouth contains over seven hundred different types of bacteria. Some of these bacteria are helpful (for example, with digestion), while others are harmful. Harmful bacteria in the mouth break down sugar from the drinks and foods you consume to produce harmful acids. Over time, the acid attacks essential minerals in your teeth, resulting in cavities.

Dentists recommend practicing good oral hygiene habits to protect your teeth and gums from the harmful effects of harmful bacteria. If you fail to clean your teeth and gums well, the harmful bacteria will form a dark film on your tooth surface and gumline. This buildup, called plaque, is the leading cause of gum disease and cavities. Once the buildup develops on your teeth, it aggravates the production of the harmful acid and creates a conducive environment for more bacterial growth. Eventually, the buildup becomes tartar after hardening, which irritates your gums, resulting in gingivitis and gum disease.

The Nature of Foods Harmful To The Teeth

Typically, sugary foods, especially those that contain sucrose, are more harmful to your teeth than other foods and drinks. This is because unhealthy bacteria in your mouth thrive in these sugars. Sadly, most processed drinks, foods, and snacks contain sucrose. For example, sucrose is found in sodas, fruit juices, pastries, and candies. Your teeth are more susceptible to cavities if you frequently consume or snack on sucrose-containing foods and drinks.

Additionally, sticky, chewy, and gooey foods are more harmful to your teeth than non-sticky foods. These foods include dried fruits, gummies, candies, and syrups. They are dangerous because they stick in the teeth’s nooks and crannies, including the spaces between your teeth. If you cannot remove them during regular brushing and flossing, they will combine with harmful bacteria in the mouth to produce enamel-eroding acid. Also, the bacteria stores the excess sugars from these foods in its cells, which causes it to create dangerous acids even long after consuming them.

Some drinks are also more harmful to the teeth than others, especially sugary beverages like juices, sodas, milkshakes, and energy drinks. It is because they cover your teeth with sugary and sticky solutions, which boost the production of enamel-eroding acid from harmful bacteria. The enamel of a natural tooth is one of the strongest elements in the world. However, it can easily break down when acid levels in the mouth drop to a PH of 5.5 or below. Sugary drinks like sodas have a relatively low PH of three or four.

Carbonated drinks like seltzers are also highly acidic and equally harmful. The same applies to other alcoholic drinks and coffees, which people consume with sugary mixers and syrups.

Some healthy foods like vegetables, starchy foods, and fruits are also suspected of harming the teeth because they contain acids or sugars that wear away the teeth' enamel. They include foods like rice, citrus, potatoes, and bananas. However, these foods also contain healthy nutrients for oral and general health. Although these foods contain sugars, and some tend to stick on and in the teeth, they have far more benefits than harmful effects. You only need to carefully clean and floss your teeth as your dentist recommends to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Some People Are More Susceptible to Cavities Than Others

Some people are more likely to develop cavities than others. For example, if your teeth have deeper grooves, they are more likely to trap food. Deeper grooves are difficult-to-reach areas during regular brushing and flossing. This means that you will likely have more attacks from harmful bacteria. This puts your teeth at risk of cavities and gums at risk of gingivitis and gum disease.

You are also more susceptible to cavities if your teeth are crowded. Healthy teeth are evenly spaced out, leaving room for the brush and floss to remove stuck food particles. If your teeth are crowded, you will have more hard-to-reach areas, which are perfect grounds for the growth of harmful bacteria.

Dentists also recommend regular oral health habits to protect teeth from harmful bacteria. You should practice these habits in addition to minding what you eat and drink. These habits include brushing and flossing after every meal or at least twice daily. You will be able to rid your mouth and teeth of stuck food particles that contribute to bacteria attacks on your teeth. If you are not keen on how you keep your mouth clean, you will have severe oral and dental issues.

Eating Habits To Keep Your Teeth Safe From Cavities

Your oral health is mainly your responsibility. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene habits, you must be careful with what you eat and how you eat it to protect your teeth and gums from harmful bacteria. Here are some of the ways you can achieve that:

Minimize Snacking

Snacking is the easiest way to consume foods that are harmful to the teeth. The saliva protects your teeth from damaging acids. In addition to flushing out stuck food particles from the mouth, the saliva creates a protective barrier on the teeth to protect the enamel from erosion by harmful acids from dangerous bacteria. It contains bicarbonate, which neutralizes acidity in the mouth. The saliva also re-mineralizes your teeth, strengthening the enamel against attack.

However, the protective barrier is broken every time you snack on sugary and starchy foods and drinks. Drinking or eating takes the saliva about thirty minutes to build up to a protective level. If you regularly snack, you create an imbalance in the mouth, creating a conducive environment for bacterial growth.

Instead of snacking all the time, dentists recommend consuming your meal, including drinks, in one sitting. If you want to enjoy a sugary drink, have it with the meal. Drink water after the meal to flush out any excess sugars your teeth could have trapped.

Minimize Your Alcohol Intake

In addition to containing excess sugars that cause harmful bacteria to thrive, alcohol inhibits saliva production in the mouth. Remember that saliva re-mineralizes your teeth and creates a protective barrier against harmful acids. Over-consumption of alcohol also leaves your mouth with a limited ability to clean out any residues left after eating or drinking. This puts your teeth at risk of cavities.

Carefully Consider Your Medications

Some medical conditions and treatments affect the health and strength of your teeth. Diseases like tuberculosis and treatments like dialysis, chemotherapy, blood pressure medication, and antihistamines affect your oral health, putting your teeth at risk of cavities. Some of these conditions and medications also affect saliva production, reducing your teeth’s protection against harmful bacteria. It helps to discuss your treatment and diagnosis with your dentist to ensure you enjoy good oral health for a long time.

Consider Sugar Alternatives

Sugar is a primary culprit in the effects of foods and drinks on oral health. However, there are alternatives to consider to ensure you enjoy your foods and beverages with minimal worries. For example, sugar-free drinks are on the market for people who want healthier snacks. These will be more favorable to your teeth. There are sugar substitutes, too, like aspartame and sugar alcohols. The bacteria does not metabolize these as it does with regular sugars. This means that they are less likely to cause cavities. However, remember that acids in diet sodas can also affect your natural teeth, even those that contain less or zero sugars.

Try Sugar-Free Gums

Sugar alcohols or sugar-free gums like xylitol constrain microbial activity, which slows down acid production by harmful bacteria in the mouth. Chewing it at least three times a day can also increase saliva production and boost its antimicrobial benefits. It is an excellent alternative to sugary snacks when you crave something sweet between your meals. A healthy alternative should be your best option instead of going for snacks that could damage your teeth.

Choose Your Tea Carefully

Remember that tea and coffee are popular beverages that put your teeth at risk of cavities. This is because they create a dry environment in your mouth due to reduced saliva production. The low output also increases acidity in your mouth, which causes enamel erosion. If you enjoy tea, you can switch to an alternative with less or zero adverse effects. For example, you can choose green or black tea. These prevent cavities as they contain a higher PH level and fluoride. However, avoid adding sugar and other unhealthy sweeteners to your tea.

Regular Visits to Your Dentist

Regular visits to the dentist’s office are also highly recommended. Dentists recommend general dental checkups and examinations at least twice a year. These are visits you make even when you are not experiencing any symptoms. Regular dental checkups have profound benefits, including preventive, curative, and educational benefits.

For example, you can learn valuable tips from your dentist on keeping your teeth safe from cavities. Your dentist will review your diet and make recommendations according to the current condition of your teeth and gums. They could ask you to stop consuming some foods and recommend other foods you should try for healthier and stronger teeth.

Dentists can also diagnose and treat cavities in their early stages through regular dental examinations and checkups. You can immediately seek medical treatment before the cavity has progressed so much. After treatment, your dentist will make follow-ups to ensure the treated tooth is solid and healthy and the other teeth are safe.

Find a Competent Dentist Near Me

Your teeth are naturally strong and beautiful. However, your oral habits and consumption of food and drinks can affect their appearance and strength. There are many ways in which foods affect natural teeth, and dental decay is at the top of the list. While some foods have profound nutritional benefits for oral health and overall well-being, others compromise health.

Our dentists at Lasting Impressions Dental Spa have extensive experience handling dental issues in Encino. We can help you figure out some foods you should include and what you should exclude from your diet for a healthy and beautiful smile. We also offer regular dental examinations and checkups to keep your oral and general health in excellent condition. Call us at 818-751-5100 to learn how various foods affect your dental health.