Everyone knows that sugar isn’t good for your waistline, but what about your teeth? And what about all of those health foods that you’ve always been told are the appropriate substitution for sugar and sweets?
You might be surprised to know that some of those fruits and vegetables you thought were keeping you healthy and strong aren’t everything you thought they were. For your teeth’s sake, here is a list of healthy foods you might want to avoid…and what to eat instead.
Yes, fruits are good for you—they’re one of the healthiest snack options out there, and that isn’t going to change. But not all fruits are created equal, and just because a food might be good nutritionally doesn’t mean that it’s good for your teeth.
Citrus fruits are some of your teeth’s worst enemies. That isn’t to say that you should avoid them altogether, because they do offer your body healthy vitamins that can help prevent stroke, heart disease, and even cancer.
But citrus fruits are also high in acids, which can eat away your teeth enamel. That old home teeth-whitening remedy involving sucking on a lemon? Probably not the best idea. When you do eat citrus, make sure you drink a glass of water with it or brush your teeth as soon as possible. Flavor your water with natural essential oils instead of a lemon wedge. And if you’re still worried, stick to pears, grapes, peaches, and other fruits that aren’t so acidic.
Dried fruit is one of those “healthy” snacks that isn’t quite as healthy as you might think. Not only is it high in sugar (bad for the diet and the health of your teeth), but the consistency might be the worst battle your teeth have to face. Dried fruit tends to stick to your teeth, binding the sugars to the surface for prolonged periods of time.
So if you’re going to make a snack of raisins or prunes, make sure you brush and floss as soon as you can to get those sticky, gummy sugars off your teeth.
And if at all possible, stick to the fresh version whenever possible. A handful of grapes is just as easy to grab as a handful of raisins, and a fresh apricot will leave you much more satisfied than a few halves of its dried counterpart.
It’s not necessarily the pickle itself that’s the problem, but the brine it’s pickled in. Pickle juice is highly acidic, and will break down your teeth enamel.
Treat them similarly to citrus fruits. If you can’t get to a toothbrush in the immediate future, it’s probably best to avoid them for your teeth’s sake. They might be a quick, easy snack, but grab a few slices of cucumber instead. It won’t be quite the same, but at least it’ll give your body the nutrients without eating away at your teeth.
Crunchy Healthy Snacks
Crunchy vegetables have many health benefits, but if you have sensitive teeth it’s probably best to steer well away from them. Carrots and apples are some of the big teeth-breaking culprits (up there with popcorn). Of course, fruits and vegetables are a two-way street, just like most of the items on this list. No one ever said that vegetables aren’t good for you, so don’t use the excuse that they’re dangerous to your oral health just to get out of eating them!
If you are worried about breaking or chipping your teeth, however, just take appropriate precautions. Cut thin carrot sticks, and cut your apples into slices instead of chomping into them whole. And whatever you do, don’t chew on the un-popped popcorn kernels at the bottom of the bag.
All of those healthy, energizing sports drinks out on the market today are some of the dentist’s worst enemies, and energy drinks are even worse. They might perk you up for a few hours, but that’s their only benefit. Many of the options on the shelves are no better than glorified soda. Energy drinks are loaded with acid, so though some of them might have less sugar than a can of soda, they’re even more damaging to your teeth.
If you really want to stay hydrated and energized, try water. It’s still the best way to rejuvenate your body and stay awake—and it’ll cleanse your teeth, not eat away at them.
So whether you’re trying to cut back on the sugar or just be a little more careful about the health of your teeth, make sure you’re informed about what healthy foods are doing to your pearly whites. Dentists in Toronto at Toothworks recommend frequent, bi-annual or annual check-ups to improve the health of your teeth, which will in turn improve your overall health.
So take the alternate routes and save your teeth the pain of fillings, crowns, and cracks…you’ll smile better for it.
Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose family is her pride and joy. She loves exploring health issues and learning about ways to stay healthy. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, and sharing her experiences with others.