Sugary foods, sodas, candy, alcohol, sports drinks, and citrus fruits and juices are all bad for your teeth. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid can erode tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay or cavities. Read on to learn how these foods and beverages can affect our oral health.
Sweets, Candy, and Other Sugary Foods
All forms of sugar feed the bacteria that cause plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease. The bacteria use sugar to create acids that eat away at the enamel surface of your teeth. The more sugar you consume, the more acid is produced, which can eat away at your teeth and gums, causing cavities and gum disease. This can cause bad breath because bacteria are actually growing on your gums and between your teeth. Once it’s established there, it’s hard to get rid of. The American Dental Association recommends limiting your intake of sugary foods and drinks to less than three servings a day. This includes foods like cookies, cake, candy, soda, fruit juices, and ice cream.
Many patients love drinking soda and other soft drinks throughout the day. However, if your teeth are stained or discolored by sugar, soft drinks could also contribute to the problem. Sodas contain a high amount of sugar and acid, which could wear away your tooth enamel and cause discoloration over time.
Additionally, sugary drinks such as juice, iced tea, and sports drinks are full of artificial colors and dyes, which can also stain your teeth. If you do enjoy these beverages, try to rinse your mouth with water afterward. This will remove some of the harmful ingredients from your teeth before they have a chance to stain them. When trying to find a healthy alternative to your favorite drinks, try drinking water instead!
Coffee and Tea
Both tea and coffee are highly acidic and can erode your enamel. This erosion can lead to increased tooth sensitivity over time and may contribute to the development of tooth decay. Your dentist may recommend cutting down on the amount of coffee or tea you drink each day to protect your oral health. You may substitute other beverages for your daily coffee and tea consumption, such as milk, water, or fruit juices.
Alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation, if at all. Alcohol can dry out the mouth and throat, leading to an increased risk of infections in the mouth. Studies have also shown that people who consume alcohol are at greater risk of developing oral diseases than those who do not. Some studies indicate a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and a higher risk for the development of oral cancer. Drinking can be done safely by sipping water in between alcoholic beverages and avoiding swishing drinks around in your mouth. This will reduce the risk to your teeth and gums of developing problems due to excessive alcohol consumption.
Sports drinks can contain a lot of sugar and are bad for oral health. Water is the best drink to hydrate your body during or after a workout. It can help rinse away any debris or food particles that have accumulated in your mouth while working out, leaving your mouth clean and fresh. If not water, then consider a sugar-free sports drink that replenishes your electrolytes and provides a boost of energy.
Citrus Fruits and Juices
Citrus fruits and juices are extremely acidic and damaging to the teeth and gums. If consumed regularly or over long periods of time, the acid softens the teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. The acids in the citrus peel can also erode the tooth enamel, potentially causing tooth sensitivity.