10 Foods and Drinks to Avoid for Healthy Teeth and Gums
~ by Mika Botkin
Your teeth are some of the first things people see when you meet them, so it’s important that your teeth look beautiful. The following foods and drinks are best avoided for healthy teeth and gums. Cutting these foods out of your diet, or at least eating them in moderation, will definitely help your teeth and body be healthier and you’ll be steps closer to having healthy pearly whites.
1. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits and juices, although they’re a rich source of vitamin C and other nutrients, are not always good for you, especially when it comes to your teeth. Grapefruit and lemon juice are highly acidic and can cause erosion of tooth enamel over time. In fact, in 2011, the British Journal of Nutrition conducted and study and found that grapefruit juice is nearly as erosive as Coca-Cola. Although you can have still your oranges as causes the least damage to your teeth, just make sure you are careful not to consume too much and rinse your mouth with salt water after consuming.
2. Candy & Sugary Foods
Not only is candy bad for you considering the amount of sugar it contains, it also totally rots your teeth! Especially sticky and chewy candies because the stickier the candy, the worse it tends to be for your teeth. Extra-chewy candies—like taffy and caramels—stick to (and between) teeth for a long time which allows the bacteria in our mouths to feed off of the deposited sugar. Sour candies are the worst because they are sticky, they contain lots of sugar AND the acidity in them also makes them erosive. Sugar raises blood insulin levels, increases inflammation in the body, and these destroy the teeth from the inside out by robbing them of vital minerals.
3. Nuts and Legumes
Nuts and legumes like almonds, peanuts, beans, lentils, hazelnuts, walnuts and more are foods that are rich in a substance called phytic acid.
The body naturally converts this acid into phytates, which the body cannot absorb. These phytates also take calcium from the body therefore those who consume high amounts of phytic acid will lose calcium and absorb other minerals at lower rates causing tooth and health decay. Their effect can can be greatly reduced by soaking the nuts in salt or lemon water overnight and then rinsing and if you like, dehydrating them in the oven.
Red wine contains substances known as chromogens that produce tooth-discolouring pigments. What’s more, red wine tends to dry out the mouth and make teeth sticky, worsening stains. White wine can also contribute to staining and even worse, they both contain erosive acid which allows stains from other foods or drinks to penetrate more deeply.
A 2009 study found that cow’s teeth soaked in black tea were more susceptible to staining if they were soaked in white wine (versus water) beforehand! So you might want to start having water with your supper instead.
5. Crackers & Breads
The refined carbs and gluten found in saltines and many other types of crackers are converted into sugar in the mouth very quickly which provides food for the cavity-forming bacteria. Crackers also become very mushy when chewed, which turns into a paste-like goop that builds up in your molars and lodges between teeth.
Eating grains, and especially gluten-based grains is quite disruptive to the acid/alkaline balance of the body. By creating inflammation and spiking the blood sugar, grains and cereals rob the body of minerals and cause tooth decay from the inside out–just like refined sugar and processed foods.
6. Coffee and Tea
You know all about those stubborn brown stains that accumulate on the inside of your coffee mug? Well, those exact stains accumulate on your teeth! In fact coffee-stained teeth were found to be more resistant to toothbrushing and more likely to become discoloured again. But even worse is the fact that teeth with heavy coffee stains tend to be stickier and attract food particles more easily, hence creating an open invitation for unwanted bacteria and cavities.
Tea may seem gentler than coffee, but that’s not the case with your teeth. Some black tea has been proven to even stain your teeth more than coffee! The reason is that black teas tend to have a high tannin content, which promotes staining.
Luckily, you can still have your tea! Green tea, white tea, and herbal tea aren’t as likely to discolour your teeth so drink up.
7. Curry Powder
All pigmented foods like blueberries, beets, soy sauce, wines lead to tooth discolouration but, surprisingly, curry powder is also a discolouration culprit. It’s deep colour can and will stain teeth yellow over time. I love putting curry on my popcorn and after eating it, my teeth are very yellow and they stay that way until the next day. I’ve found drinking water at the same time does help though so don’t give up on your curries completely, just try and cut down a bit.
8. Fruit Juices
Even though not as bad for your health as coffee, wine, alcohol, energy drinks, sports drinks and soda, most fruit juices are highly acidic and have been linked to an increased risk of cavities. 100% fruit juices do have some health benefits as well but just be aware of their acidic nature and make sure to drink a tall glass of water after you drink them.
Tomatoes are acidic. If you eat them as a part of a meal, the danger is minimized. But you should just keep in mind that acidic foods in general are not good for your teeth, or your overall health. When you eat acidic foods and and the acid directly on your enamel is quite disruptive to the overall health of your teeth and makes staining much more likely.
When you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar just like crackers–bread is literally just like eating sugar as far as the body is concerned. When it’s transformed into a gummy paste-like substance, the bread sticks to the crevices between teeth. The sugars dissolve in the mouth which causes a surge of acid and can erode tooth enamel and can cause cavities. It’s best to avoid all forms of gluten for your body and for your teeth.
These drinks and foods are bad for your teeth and by avoiding them, you will do a favour for your body, teeth and overall health. If you truly don’t want to cut these foods out completely then they will have a much smaller impact on your health and the health of your gorgeous pearly whites.
Keep smiling! 🙂
For A Lifetime of Healthy Teeth & Gums
Having truly healthy teeth and gums requires more than just nutritional adjustments. It requires healthy oral hygiene and the elimination of toxic products used to clean your teeth. For more information, check out our simple line of anti-bacterial tooth serums and our toothpaste designed to help protect and remineralize your teeth, while whitening and brightening them naturally.
For a complete series of interviews with renegade dentists, doctors and health heroes, visit www.toothsummit.com.