Foods and drinks that damage teeth

By Dr. Shraddha Kulkarni

BDS, DMD

Diet is an extremely important aspect of our overall health and well-being. A well balanced, nutritious meal does wonders for our body and its organs. The first part of the body that interacts with and is affected by what we eat is the oral cavity, our mouth. The health of our teeth and gums is heavily dependent on what we consume. Acidic foods like carbonated drinks, vinegar, etc damage the enamel causing erosion of the teeth, exposing the inner layers of teeth to the oral environment. Bacteria thrive in acidic environments and hence it is very important for the mouth to have balanced pH.

Sugary snacks and drinks

Regular consumption of sugary snacks and drinks lowers the pH of the mouth, which causes dental decay. Consumption of sugary snacks at regular intervals doesn’t allow the oral cavity to get back to a neutral pH, which then becomes an environment where in the bacteria can thrive and cause damage to the teeth. Sugar and carbonated drinks are the two worst enemies of your teeth and gums.

Foods low in fibre

Processed foods that are low in fibre also cause dental decay and gingivitis. It is extremely important to eat a well-balanced diet, full of fibre and low in sugar. It is equally important to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and to balance the overall environment of the oral cavity.

Carb-rich foods

Foods rich in carbohydrates, which are made with refined, white flour are as harmful to teeth as sugary foods. Processed foods like bread, biscuits, pasta, etc, can stay dormant in the mouth and are eventually broken down into sugars. Those sugars are a breeding ground for bacteria, which penetrate teeth and cause decay. Consumption of foods high in carbohydrates and sugars can also raise blood sugar in diabetics, which cause changes in the gingival crevicular fluid, leading to gingivitis or swollen and inflamed gums.

Ice

Another seemingly harmless food that actually causes significant physical damage to teeth is ice! Chewing on ice can damage the enamel by chipping at it and cause the underlying tooth to get susceptible to decay. So, skip chewing on the ice if you’ve used some to keep your drink cool. Your oral health is definitely connected to your overall health and well-being, and it is therefore important to take care of what you eat and drink.

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