The appearance and health of teeth are an indicator of overall health, so it’s important to teach children to keep their teeth as healthy as possible by avoiding foods and drinks that have a high risk of producing cavities, breaking down enamel, and producing diseases in the month that could lead to serious health issues if left untreated. Wake Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry knows that some everyday foods can cause enamel damage if proper oral hygiene habits aren’t followed.
Candy and soft drinks are among the most obvious foods to avoid, but what about the healthy options that you may be feeding your children daily? Here is a list of foods that you may not have known can damage teeth:
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an acidic food, meaning they are likely to weaken tooth enamel. Weakened enamel can cause teeth to be more susceptible to cavities. Acidic foods also cause teeth to become more sensitive to things like the hot or cold temperature of a food or drink. Although tomatoes are nutritional, especially when prepared with a meal, it is important to rinse your mouth out after eating them by themselves in order to reduce acidity.
- Dried Fruit: It may be surprising to know that eating too much fruit without proper oral care can be damaging to teeth. The stickiness and high sugar content of dried fruits are what make them bad for teeth. They are a good snack when your children are craving something sweet but you should always encourage brushing and flossing after eating dried fruit. Avoid having dried fruits get stuck between teeth and cause the erosion of enamel.
- Peanut Butter: This is another sticky food item that is recommended for reduced consumption in order to keep teeth healthy and strong. For a healthier alternative to peanut butter with added sugar, consider trying natural peanut butter that contains no added sugars. Whichever option you choose, make sure your children are brushing after eating to ensure that the peanut butter doesn’t stay stuck to their teeth.
- Ice: Many people enjoy the feeling of chewing on ice. Because ice is made of water, it may be hard to believe that it could be bad for you in any sense, but chewing on ice can be very damaging to teeth. The hard surface of ice can cause teeth fractures and gum injuries, which could result in less appealing smiles and expensive procedures to fix the damage. Dentists recommend chewing on fruits or vegetables to satisfy those who like the crunch associated with chewing on ice. Chewing on ice may not seem like a big deal, but having a strong feeling of a need to chew on ice may be a sign of iron deficiency anemia, so it is important to inform your dentist if you or your child are chewing on ice.
- Fruit Juice: Fruit juice may seem like a good alternative to drinks like soda but fruit juice can contain just as much sugar. Make sure to look at the nutritional label before buying any fruit juice for your children or yourself. Sugary drinks cause bad bacteria to grow in the mouth and make teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and plaque.
Healthy smiles boost confidence and are a sign of good overall health. Choosing foods and drinks that are damaging to teeth can lead to additional health problems that affect other parts of the body, so it is important to be aware of what your family is eating.
Wake Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry is committed to educating our patients about healthy eating for healthy smiles. Ask a member of our team for some additional recommendations of snack alternatives at your next appointment. To schedule, call us at (919) 719-1780 or use our convenient online scheduling service.