Nobody wants to go to their biannual dental check-up only to find out that they have cavities that need to be filled. But instead of being proactive, many people just cross their fingers and hope for the best.
Well, you don’t have to leave your dental health up to chance. By cutting out some of the worst consumables out of your diet, you can do your teeth a huge favor. Once you eliminate these things from your pantry, you can feel more confident at your next dental cleaning.
Whether you want to call them suckers or lollipops, what these treats do is invite cavity-causing bacteria.
Think about it. Bacteria that eats sugar gets to hang out at an all-you-can-eat buffet as lollipops take a while to wear down and be consumed. As the bad bacteria eats the sugar residue inside your mouth, it excretes acid that wears down your teeth.
And if you are in the habit of crunching suckers rather than sucking on them until they dissolve, you can also create micro-fissures in your teeth, especially if they are already weakened.
So, rather than hosting a bacteria party, skip the suckers. Though, don’t feel like you are the worst parent if you give your kids the occasional sucker. Our own Dr. Stevens’ son is featured above enjoying his sucker, proving that even a dentist can’t keep these sugary treats away from their kids.
From childhood, most people have been taught to sip their drinks, whether that drink is water or soda. But when it comes to soda, sipping on soda pop is a constant assault on your teeth.
As soda combines sugar and acid, you bathe your teeth in acid, which wears the enamel down and bacteria comes to eat the sugar residue, causing even more damage. Sodas with citrus—such as Mtn. Dew—are especially high in acid and can speedily damage your teeth.
As Dr. Stevens, puts it, “Mtn. Dew is the worst! If you drink Mtn. Dew, I know you have cavities.“
Even sugar-free soda has acid, and the sugar substitutes can still attract the bad bacteria that will harm your teeth.
3. Fruit Roll-Ups
It’s tempting to trust snacks that market themselves as healthy and made with real fruit. However, most of the time there is added sugar, especially with treats like fruit roll-ups.
Not only that, but fruit roll-ups in particular are sticky and tend to cling to the teeth for hours after it has been eaten. Only thorough teeth brushing can remove this clingy treat, and most people aren’t in a position to do that after eating a fruit roll-up. Without removing this sugary snack, the cavity-making bacteria crew is sure to show up.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Okay, I’ll stick to snacks like chips and skip the sugar.” Well, we hate to break it to you, but chips are on our list of the worst things for your teeth.
Chips can get stuck in the crevasses of your teeth for hours after eating them. And as chips are a simple carbohydrate, they quickly get broken down into glucose—aka, sugar molecules. At this point, you probably know where things are going. That trapped chip/glucose attracts bacteria, which leads to cavity developments.
5. Sports Drinks
Another item marketed as “healthy” but really just a prolonged sugar bath for your teeth is the consumption of sports drinks. As sodium and electrolytes can taste undesirable, most sports drinks manufacturers fill their drinks with large amounts of sugar.
Consider this—if you drink sports drinks over the course of an hour or more sporting activity, your teeth are being constantly washed with a layer of sugar water that will sit there until the next swig of sports drink. Stick to water; it’s better for your teeth and hydrates you without the extras.
6. Caramel Corn
Not only can popcorn kernels get stuck in your teeth until you dig them out, but add some sticky caramel to make sure the food adheres to your teeth as well to make this treat doubly bad for your dental health.
Not to mention the un-popped kernels hiding in the caramel that has sent many to the dentist with a cracked tooth. So, skip the chipped teeth roulette and the future cavities and just pass on caramel corn in all its forms.
For personalized help with your dental health care needs, contact the Riverside Dental Care team. We have two locations to better serve our community, and we are ready to help you have the healthiest smile possible.