When it comes to maintaining good dental health, the choices you make in your diet play a pivotal role. While we celebrate many foods for their health benefits, there can be a sneaky side to some seemingly nutritious options that may wreak havoc on your teeth.
Your dentist might wish you would think twice about these five health foods that, despite their positive reputation, could be causing more harm than good to your pearly whites.
Health foods that aren’t healthy for your teeth
If you find yourself eating these health foods consistently, you may want to consider swapping them out for more tooth-friendly options.
1. Dried fruit
There’s no doubt that dried fruit that’s not covered in sugar contains nutrients that are good for your overall health. However, if the dried fruit you’re consuming is covered in sugar, they aren’t friendly to your teeth.
Did you know 100 grams of sugar-coated (sometimes called candied) dried fruit contains a whopping 81 grams of sugar?
It’s no secret that sugar is harmful for your oral health, especially when it comes to the development of caries. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “Sugars, specifically, are considered to be the most important drivers of caries development.”
Additionally, removing the water from these fruits makes them sticky. Sticky foods are hard to clear away from teeth and often stay on them longer than other foods. Because of this, acids that are produced from the bacteria that metabolize the particles have more time to eat away at the hard portions of your teeth.
If you consume dried fruit, make sure to rinse your mouth with water and floss to clean your teeth after you’re done.
2. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are similar to dried fruits in that they can benefit your body, but too much citrus can harm your teeth. Oranges and grapefruits provide vitamin C and other nutrients, but the acidic compounds damage teeth. Citrus fruits erode tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay.
It may be hard to avoid these fruits altogether, but drinking water after consuming citrus can keep your dental health in check.
3. Granola bars
For most people, granola bars seem like the perfect quick snack. However, many types of granola bars are full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other highly processed ingredients like vegetable oils, preservatives, and artificial flavors.
When it comes to your oral health, the added sugar in this health food may cause cavities, tooth decay, and other problems. Additionally, some may contain sticky items such as dried fruit bits, which can get stuck in between your teeth and may be harder to remove quickly.
If you can’t live without granola bars, find ones that are low in sugar or use natural sweeteners such as figs or dates. Remember to rinse your mouth with plain water after!
4. Sports drinks
Despite their popularity at sporting events, sports drinks tend to have large amounts of sugar. In fact, consuming a sports drink is only slightly better than a regular soda.
Some of the biggest consumers of sports drinks are children and adolescents. A study from the Official Journal Of The American Academy Of Pediatrics found that while “daily consumption of sports drinks has decreased overall, sugar-sweetened sports drinks remain popular, with the majority of high school students drinking them at least weekly.”
It’s best to skip this drink and stick with water to rehydrate. Your teeth will thank you!
5. Energy gels
Like sports drinks, energy gels provide energy and carbohydrates, but the acid levels cause tooth erosion and escalate the risk of dental health complications.
According to a study, despite athletes having good dental routines, energy gels and sports drinks have shown an “association between periodontal disease and impact on both daily activities and sports performance.” It can be challenging for competitive athletes to avoid energy gels, but they should be limited to maintaining a healthy mouth.
Keep a look out for deceptive health foods
It’s easy to be deceived by the aforementioned health foods. However, it’s important to stay diligent to take care of your oral health. Whether it’s the amount of sugar or acidic compounds, these foods can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Even if you stay away from these foods, it’s still crucial to consistently brush, floss, and visit the dentist every six months to ensure your mouth is healthy.
Are you looking for nutritious diet alternatives that nourish your oral and overall health? Check out “How to keep your mouth healthy during the holidays.”