Unfortunately, for most American’s the answer to that question is yes. Sugar intake for the average American totals a whopping 88 grams per day. That’s 3 to 4 times the recommended daily intake. Sugar serves to create an acidic pH level in the mouth and feeds bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to eating and drinking for a healthier mouth.
Foods and Beverages that Damage Tooth Enamel
One surprising food that can be rough on teeth is anything in the citrus family. Orange juice is the best out of the bunch, but there is still a caution. According to the ADA, you don’t want to brush immediately after anything acidic. Don’t forget to brush. Just don’t do it right after eating a grapefruit or drinking a glass of OJ as this may weaken enamel.
Any type of sugary candy is going to be rough on your teeth because of the sugar content alone. That having been said, hard candy also adds the potential for chipping a tooth. Actually, the same principle applies to chewing anything hard like ice. Use a nutcracker instead of trying to open something like a pistachio with your teeth.
Soft Drinks are just about the worst thing you can drink for your teeth. A 12-ounce can of cola has about 39 grams of sugar. That’s more than the recommended intake for an entire day. Plus, soft drinks create an acidic pH in the mouth, thereby encouraging bacteria growth and plaque. Sports drinks are not much better as far as the sugar content is concerned, and energy drinks are often even worse.
Foods and Beverages that Benefit Your Teeth
Subbing out soda with healthy drinks like water and milk is a great way to give your teeth a boost. Water can balance the pH level in your mouth (although according to some estimates it takes over 30 glasses of water to balance out one soda). And milk contains calcium that is not only good for the enamel of teeth but also the jawbone itself.
Also, there are a number of foods that are naturally sweet but that don’t produce plaque. Raisins are a good example of a food that tastes like dessert without the detrimental effects. Just don’t eat them covered in chocolate.
Did you know that when mom taught you to eat your vegetables, she was looking out for your teeth as well? Many vegetables are rich in vitamins that help keep enamel strong. Chewing a little roughage can also help clear away bacteria. Plus, that piece of spinach caught between your teeth is a good reminder to brush after every meal.
By cutting out a few detrimental elements and adding in a few healthier options, your diet can quickly go from hurting your teeth to helping them.