Having great teeth is not all down to dental hygiene, it's also important to pay close attention to your diet. While some foods and drinks are almost famous for the damage they cause to teeth, other seemingly healthy options can be almost as bad. Let's take a look at some of the worst choices you can make for your mouth, along with some of the foods and drinks recommended by dentists.
It almost goes without saying that fizzy soft drinks are bad for your teeth. The ultra high sugar content alone is enough to erode tooth enamel, resulting in unwanted inner tooth exposure and cavities. Surprisingly, however, diet soft drinks can be even worse than regular soft drinks, with consumers often drinking more due to a false sense of security while exposing themselves to the same high acid levels as regular fizzy drinks.
When it comes to alcoholic drinks, wine and cider have the highest acid levels, with dry wines better than sweet wines. Surprisingly, beer is one of the best options in terms of dental health, with ale a better choice than sweet and fizzy lager. While they may be healthy for you in other ways, fruit juice products are also bad for your teeth, either with alcohol or without. For example, orange juice has an acidic pH level of 3.5, making it just as bad for your teeth as wine or cider.
According to Dr Peter Alldritt, chair of the Australian Dental Association's oral health committee, potato chips and muesli bars are also bad for your teeth, with both products softening in the mouth before lodging in the crevices on and between teeth. Unlike sweet products such as lollies, cakes, and chocolates, chips and muesli products are generally perceived to be the healthier option. This often has an adverse effect, with people eating more and taking less care of their teeth after doing so.
Dried fruit is generally known as a healthy and vitamin rich snack, especially for people on the go. However, when you suck the moisture from regular fruit, the sugar content is concentrated and sticks together more readily with fibre in the teeth. When you consider that many dried fruit products also contain extra sugar, it's generally better to stick to fresh fruit products. Even fresh fruits and vegetables are capable of doing damage, with apples and carrots two of the biggest culprits when it comes to cracked teeth. Corn on the cob has also been known to loosen or crack fillings and sealants, and can cause real problems for people with dentures.
If you want to focus on the positive, there are also lots of foods and drinks out there recommended by dentists. Because its sugar content comes in the form of lactose, milk can actually promote healthy teeth and bones if used moderately. Green tea is also great for teeth, and because it contains polyphenols, it's one of the only foods capable of cleaning up existing plaque. Cheese and yoghurt products are also generally recommended by dentists, with crunchy fruits and vegetables a great way to create an alkaline environment in your mouth that protects you from exposure to acid.