Types of Foods That Cause the Most Tooth Decay
As we’ve mentioned before, having good oral health is healthy for your whole body. Unhealthy teeth and gums can give you infections and cause diseases. Tooth health starts by controlling plaque, which can eat away at the enamel and interior of the tooth as well as cause gum disease. Plaque consumes sugars and it’s byproduct is acid. The acid made by plaque is what causes enormous amounts of tooth and gum damage.
Foods that are sticky leave a residue on the surface of your teeth. This coating is the perfect place for plaque to grow and multiply. The sticky residue contains sugars for the plaque to eat, producing more acid. Sticky, chewy candies are especially bad, as they coat the teeth and are composed almost wholly of sugar.
Extremely Acidic Foods
- A pH Level of 0 shows high acidity.
- A pH level of 7 is neutral
- A pH level of 14 is a base, or alkaline
Generally, foods that are considered acidic have a pH of 4.6 or lower
Acid erodes the teeth enamel. Plaque processes sugar into acid, but you can skip it all together by eating acidic food. Lowering the pH rating in your mouth can damage teeth, gums, and discolor the teeth.
Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of highly acidic foods. Fruits and fruit juices tend to be acidic. So does coffee, grains, sugar, fish, processed foods and meats, and more. Read more about acidic foods here. Other notably acidic mentions include beer, and sodas/sweetened drinks.
Foods With High Sugar
This one is probably pretty obvious. Of course foods high in sugar are bad for your teeth. Sugar feeds plaque, plaque makes acid, acid damages teeth, same old story. Soda pop is probably the worst, but sugary candies and desserts are also big offenders. The one of the best ways to take care of your teeth is to limit your sugar intake.
Much like sticky foods, refined carbs present a double whammy. Refined carbohydrates turn into sugars as soon as they enter the mouth. Many starchy foods also break into small pieces. These pieces easily get between the teeth, or lodged in the gum line. Pasta, noodles, white bread, and potato chips are foods to moderate. They can actually be just as bad for your teeth as high-sugar foods.
Tough, Chewy Foods
Anything you chew on that is hard can damage the tooth enamel. Chewing on incredibly hard, crunchy things like hard candy or ice will hurt the enamel over time. Not only can it cause damage over time, but people do occasionally break of a piece of tooth when chewing something hard.
Foods that make your mouth dry are also big dangers. One of the functions of your saliva is to irrigate your mouth. The water in your saliva can wash away plaque build up, lodged chunks of food, and regulate your mouth’s pH balance. Saliva also helps deliver important minerals to your teeth, like calcium. Finally, saliva washes out the whole mouth, helping to prevent gum disease and other oral infections.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy
- Brushing Regularly — brush at least twice a day. Make sure to use about a pea-sized piece of toothpaste and to brush your whole mouth for 3 minutes.
- Flossing — flossing clears out debris from between your teeth. It also clears debris from the gum line.
- Drink plenty of water — keep yourself and your mouth hydrated. A mouth with enough saliva can resist both tooth and gum decay.
- Moderate your diet — if you can, avoid the foods previously mentioned. If you do eat unhealthy foods, try to limit your intake.
Contact a Medical Professional
If you have a serious problem, don’t hesitate to call a dentist. If you just want some good pointers on your health, do the same. Whether you are looking for advice on a health quandary or think you might have a dental emergency, send us a message. Dr. Ku, DDS office is happy to help anyone in the Fort Worth Area with any dental health issues they might have.