Given sufficient time and poor oral health practices, any food that accumulates in the mouth can damage teeth directly – either by weakening enamel and dentin – or indirectly – by feeding harmful bacteria and prompting them to thrive. However, there are plenty of foods that are hazardous to teeth no matter how long they are in patients' mouths. Knowing how food can be a risk to teeth and which foods are a strong threat to oral health is vital for patients to protect and maintain their teeth.
Foods That Directly Damage Teeth
Acidic foods and beverages strip enamel off of teeth. When teeth have no protective enamel remaining, the acid damages the underlying dentin, creating holes and caries in it, rendering teeth sensitive and vulnerable to additional oral health complications. Popcorn can cause multiple problems in the mouth; unpopped kernels can chip or crack teeth, and kernel particles can cut soft tissues in the mouth. And ice and similarly-hard frozen consumables can harm teeth and cause bite misalignments and crooked teeth.
Foods that Promote Growth of Harmful Bacteria
Harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acid, which weakens and destroys the enamel on teeth. When teeth's enamel is gone, the acid pokes holes in the underlying dentin, weaking teeth further and exposing them to caries and tooth decay. Sugar is a favorite food source for harmful bacteria; excessively sugary foods and beverages catalyze oral health problems such as cavities and tooth decay due to the dramatic boost they provide for bacteria. Sticky and starchy foods adhere to teeth, giving bacteria additional time to consume the food particles and multiply.
There are multiple direct correlations between dietary choices and oral health. Minor changes in patients' diets can lead to major improvements in their mouths' health. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to review and revise your dietary habits.
Century Dental Dr. Jefferson Call, DMD & Dr. Dix Densley, DDS