Tooth decay is the most prevalent ailment in the entire United States, with around 90% of adults experiencing it in some form. One of the most significant contributors to tooth decay is food. The sugars in the foods that you eat are the primary source of sustenance for the bacteria in your mouth. The more sugars you consume, the more the bacteria has to eat – it’s as simple as that. Bacteria produce harmful acids, which will dissolve your enamel, leading to tooth decay.
The foods that you eat will also determine the amount of plaque that will build up on your teeth, also contributing to decay. Here are some of the foods you should avoid, or eat in moderation, to reduce your chance of tooth decay prevent the development of other serious oral issues.
Sugary and sticky candy
The most common food associated with cavities and oral health problems is sweets. As a child, an adult likely told you to stop eating candy because it would rot your teeth, and they weren’t wrong! The worst offenders are candies that are sticky, chewy, and stay in your mouth for prolonged periods. That includes lollipops, jellybeans, Skittles, caramels, etc. Candies with that sticky consistency are nearly impossible for your saliva to wash away, giving the bacteria more time to feed.
If you have tooth sensitivity or untreated tooth decay, it can be extremely painful to eat these types of candies as they are hard to chew. If you experience any pain or sensitivity, you should go to see your dentist immediately so they can treat the problem. You can find a flexible dentist open on Saturday who does walk-ins, so you don’t even need an appointment.
Acidic foods can damage your teeth’ enamel, leaving them unprotected and prone to decay. Pickles contain a high level of acid due to the vinegar that they are pickled in. The acid can also stain your teeth since thinner enamel makes your teeth more porous, soaking up colors easier.
Crackers and bread
One food group that is often forgotten when talking about tooth decay is refined carbohydrates. Bacteria love to feed on the starch of bread and crackers as much as they like to feed on the refined sugar in candies. Eating refined carbs is also linked to inflammation in the body, contributing to gum disease and gingivitis.
Tomatoes are delicious and nutritious, but they have a high acid level. Similar to the acid of pickles, tomato sauces can damage your teeth’ enamel, making them more porous and susceptible to cavities. On top of that, you’ve likely experienced what happens when you spill tomato sauce on clothing: it stains. The same goes for your teeth. If you eat lots of tomato sauce, you will notice it begin to discolor your teeth.
As a general rule, limit your consumption of foods that are high in refined sugar or high in acid since they are most likely to damage your teeth.