The worst threat for healthy teeth is gum disease, which happens as a result of bacteria collecting in pockets between your teeth. To avoid cavities and retain healthy teeth, what you eat is extremely important. As soon as you start eating, your mouth is an activity centre where the bacteria take the sugars and convert them to acids which attack the enamel of your teeth.
An obvious food to avoid is sugary sweets like lollies and hard sweets that you suck, which may stay in one place in your mouth, causing a buildup of acid in that area. You don’t have to include chocolate. Cocoa contains substances that may help to protect your teeth against decay. Dark chocolate is a better choice as it has less sugar.
Chewing gum can be bad and good. Normal chewing gum can be harmful to your teeth, as you chew it for long periods. However, sugar-free chewing gum can clean your teeth by removing food particles stuck to the teeth. Chewing also encourages production of saliva which neutralises the acid and is swallowed, taking away the food particles.
Other obvious sugary foods are cakes and biscuits. Some foods that aren’t so obvious are crisps, chips, bananas and dried fruits. These have a lot of sugar in them and stick to your teeth, giving the bacteria more of an opportunity to convert sugar to harmful acids.
For healthy teeth, drink water and milk
Avoid drinks containing sugar such as lemonade, soft drinks, tea and coffee with sugar. Sipping sugary drinks throughout the day is bad for your teeth as they are receiving constant sugar exposure and acid attack. Another no-no is high-carb energy drinks. They contain sugar and are thick in consistency and stick to your teeth.
When a product says “sugar-free”, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it contains no sugar; it could just mean that extra sugar wasn’t added while the food was processed. The foods could have natural sweeteners which are a threat to your teeth. Examples would be: honey and rice syrup. Check the ingredients in the products you buy. If you see fructose and sucrose, it may be best to avoid these products.
Citrus fruits, a threat to healthy teeth
Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are acidic, so avoid sucking them for long periods. Lemons are not only acidic, but they contain sugar which converts to enamel-attacking acid!
Picture by Igor Mojzes and Agota Janosi – Fotolia