We all grew up hearing that certain foods were bad for us and certain foods were good for us. But as we’ve gone through adulthood, some of the things we grew up believing have turned out to be wrong. We’ve heard eggs raise cholesterol, and then that they don’t. We learned red meat makes you strong, and later, that red meat causes heart disease. Could it be that the foods our mothers told us were bad for our teeth are healthy? Well…yes and no.
Candy and sweets
When mom said candy would “rot your teeth,” she was right. But only about some kinds of candy – the hard kind, like lollipops and cough drops, and the sticky kind, like caramels and gummy bears. The reason is fairly obvious – since they’re sticky, they tend to cling to your teeth – and the longer they stick around, the more damage they can cause. But there is some good news for those of us who have a sweet tooth. Chocolate is a fairly harmless indulgence because the sugar in chocolate is mixed with fat, which doesn’t hang around in your mouth.
Maybe Dr. Atkins (of the famous no-carbs diet) should have been a dentist – when it comes to causing tooth decay, breads, potatoes, rice and the like can be dangerous. The reason? Small pieces can easily get stuck between or behind your teeth, especially in the back of your mouth. And bacteria love nothing more than to chow down on some tasty carbohydrates. So if you can’t brush your teeth after eating a sandwich at lunch or a bagel at the office, swirl some water in your mouth to loosen the bits that may be stuck.
Energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and pre-sweetened teas contain as much sugar as some soft drinks. Even fruit juice has a high sugar content that makes it less than ideal from a dental health standpoint.
While recent studies have shown that a bit of booze is some miracle cure, doing everything from preventing heart disease to prolonging life, it’s still not a winner in the dental department. Why? Pete, a Santa Clarita dentist says “Alcohol dries out your mouth, preventing saliva from doing its job of keeping surfaces clean. Some medicines can also have the same effect.”
True, they’re not sugary or sticky. They’re highly acidic. They can erode the enamel right off of your teeth. So if you love lemons, don’t suck on them. Squeeze the juice in some water to dilute it or enjoy them mixed with foods or other drinks.