We’ve all been told time and time again that eating too much candy can cause cavities, but what other foods can have the same effect? You might be surprised to learn how hard other foods besides candy are on your teeth.
Sugar itself is not what necessarily causes teeth to decay, but rather the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that survives on carbohydrates. This comes from all different types of foods. The foods that are the worse for your teeth are the ones that stick around, leaving residue for the bacteria to eat and thrive on. If these sticky foods are left to do damage, cavities will inevitably follow.
Before modern dentistry, and before our diets consisted largely of sugared treats, the signs of tooth decay had been obvious. Research seems to show that tooth decay began after humans began to incorporate agriculture into their hunting diet. The carbohydrates in their new meals began to aid in tooth decay.
Historically they did not have the means to clean their teeth and get rid of the plaque that had accumulated. Even now as we use these methods, there are still some foods that are just better to avoid. They invite cavities into your mouth even with the best oral hygiene.
When we eat foods that are high in acid, they often cause a sticky feeling to coat our teeth. It is a feeling that is hard to get rid of. Even though the products themselves do not give you cavities, the effect they have on your teeth certainly will.
Acidic foods include, but are not limited to lemons, citrus foods, and citrus soda drinks or lemonades. If you eat or drink too much of these, they will begin to weaken the enamel protecting your teeth.
Enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up your teeth. It is the hardest portion of your body, so for these foods to be breaking it down is a big deal. Since the enamel has a lot of minerals inside it, it is susceptible to cavities, which is essentially just the demineralization of the teeth.
Even as we try to brush every inch of our teeth, there are grooves in the enamel that make it impossible to get everywhere. This is the perfect spot for bacteria to grow and cause cavities. By avoiding excessive amounts of acidic foods, we can limit the reach of these decay-causing bacteria.
Some have claimed that placing an aspirin next to your tooth will help soothe a nasty toothache. While when swallowed, the medicine will give you some relief, placing it next to the tooth can cause severe damage.
Like the lemonade, aspirin is very acidic. If you just swallow the pill straight off, your teeth will be fine, and the pain you have been feeling will lessen. But placing the aspirin next to the tooth is just aiding in the breakdown of your enamel. This will encourage cavities to grow in your already painful tooth, causing more pain, and a possibly very expensive visit to the dentist.
Not only can an aspirin in the mouth cause damage to your teeth, but it can also do serious harm to your gums. The small pill can burn away at the tissue there, causing an abscess. If you are looking for relief from a toothache, just swallow the aspirin rather than cause more damage.
When thinking about oral health, it is important to look at all the factors that can damage your teeth, not just the ones that are most popular. Avoid eating an excessive amount of candy, but also consume acidic foods in moderation to ensure your teeth will be strong and healthy for years to come.
By Cassie Costner
Cassie writes for www.burgpediatricdentistry.com on the best ways to maintain oral health. She is most interested in selecting foods wisely to prevent cavities and avoid causing permanent damage to your teeth.