Leading a healthy lifestyle can be difficult–especially with all the different forces vying for control of what you eat. You have to manage a heart-healthy diet, low-caloric intake, and then make sure you aren’t damaging your teeth! While most processed, high-fructose filled foods are bad for your body and teeth, there are some hidden dangers to your teeth you probably have never thought about.

It’s important to know which foods to eat in moderation, and if there could be a healthy substitute for your favorite meal. The following foods are some of the worst for your teeth:

Whole Grains

This one might be the biggest surprise–after all, doctors are always saying to cut out white processed foods and switch to the whole-grain version. So now you’re having lots of brown rice and carbohydrates… and dousing your teeth in an enamel-eroding acid. When carbohydrates enter your mouth, your saliva breaks them down into sugars using pre-digestive enzymes. This sugar, along with the acid produced, can get easily stuck in your mouth and teeth because of the sticky, small-particle nature of many grains.

Don’t fret, however. Whole grain sugars are far better than those of their white refined counterparts. Just make sure that if you have a heavy carb meal you brush your teeth or floss afterwards. Even drinking water with your meal can help rinse away the dangerous particles.

Citrus

It seems that we’re always being instructed to eat fruits and vegetables. However, if you satisfy this requirement with lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, you might be doing yourself a disservice. Too much exposure to these highly acidic fruits can wear down enamel, and also increase tooth sensitivity. Acids like these will also irritate any mouth sores you have, so think twice about adding lemon and lime to your water. If you do eat an orange, rinse it out with a glass of water (without the limes!).

Dark Foods

Obviously, this is a category that encompasses many foods. But particularly staining dark foods that you might never have thought of as bad include cherries, blueberries, and soy sauce. The surface of your teeth is a highly porous enamel made up of miniscule rods, so any dark color that leaks will be absorbed. This is why your teeth will stain after a few glasses of wine. As soon as you eat any of these foods, brush your teeth. You can also cut back on dark juices, which will likely add sugar to the enamel of teeth and stain.

Sports Drinks

We know how hot it can be running outside, or how tired you may feel after a few hours at the gym. But don’t turn towards the temptation of sport drinks–those drinks that have fun fruity flavors and claim to be electrolyte produces. If you read the nutrition label on any of these drinks, you will see the high sugar content. Additionally, despite claims, these drinks cannot provide you the after-workout benefits that water can, which is the only adequate replacement for water lost during a workout.

Other tooth offenders include chewable vitamins (which are tasty because of the sugar added), crunchy foods like potato chips which will get lodged in teeth, and alcohol (which dries out the mouth, reducing the production of bacteria-reducing saliva). If you have any questions about how you can further eat a tooth-friendly diet and remove offending foods, call our office today! The right diet may be the key to saving on dental bills.