We all know that consuming lots of sweets leads to tooth decay, and that certain foods like coffee and red wine dim your smile with stains. But you might not be aware that some seemingly harmless food choices are actually causing the same issues. Consider the following:
1. Dried Fruit
All those vitamins make raisins and other dried fruits seem like a good substitute for regular sweets. But dried fruit is basically nature’s gummy candy. Fruit has a lot of natural sugars, which are just as effective as processed sugars in facilitating tooth decay. And the sticky nature of dried fruit helps it lodge in nooks and crannies, giving bacteria more time to eat away at your teeth.
Chewing on ice may be a nervous habit, or you may enjoy regularly crunching on a healthy homemade ice pop. But ice is incredibly hard, and chewing on it can chip away at enamel and even lead to cracks in already weakened teeth.
3. Herbal Tea
Though not dark like coffee or regular tea, herbal tea can be even more harmful in staining your teeth. Herbal and white teas are full of tannic acid, an antioxidant that sticks to plaque and causes yellowing.
Gut-healthy probiotics led to the recent craze for this fermented tea drink. But kombucha is also highly acidic. Acids in foods work to weaken and demineralize tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. Sipping slowly over a long period time, like during a good chat with friends at your local café, prolongs the exposure and can be especially harmful.
5. Cough Drops
Just because they’re medicine, doesn’t mean they’re good for your teeth. Many cough drops contain just as much sugar as hard candy, and your teeth certainly can’t tell the difference.
6. Diet Soda
Sure, regular soda is the culprit with all the sugar, but diet soda isn’t completely innocent. All sodas, regardless of sugar content, contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet sodas may actually contain more acid than sugary versions in the form of artificial sweeteners.
7. Potato Chips
No one’s accusing potato chips of being a health food, but they’re better than a sugary snack when you’ve got a craving aren’t they? Actually, the bacteria in plaque breaks down starchy foods (like potatoes) into acid. Potato chip crumbs can get stuck between teeth and hang around longer than you intended, giving your teeth more exposure to the acid and driving up the chances of decay.
8. White Wine
Everyone knows red wine stains your teeth, so you think you’d be safer sticking with white. Actually, though, the acids in the wine still break down enamel, leaving your teeth exposed to staining from other beverages, like red wine and coffee.
You can still enjoy most of your favorite foods, even those on this list. Just be smart about your choices, and rinse or brush after consuming those that can cause damage with longer exposure.
If you’re worried about tooth decay or discoloration, check in with your dentist to get a professional cleaning and advice. Set up an appointment by contacting Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics today.