Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Surprise! These 5 Foods Can Spell Trouble for Dental Health

In the quest towards better overall health and especially dental health, Americans are reaching for more natural, less processed foods. They may have an abundance of benefits, yet some may pose unexpected risks to the teeth and gums. According to a recent Good Morning America online article, here are five such foods to be aware of:

Citrus Fruits
Although they contain beneficial Vitamin C and collagen, too much citrus fruit can wear down tooth enamel. Eating too many oranges or grapefruit, along with sucking on lemons and limes should be avoided. The acids and naturally occurring sugars can soften and erode tooth enamel. The GMA piece also cited a 2011 study by the British Journal of Nutrition that stated, “Grapefruit juice is nearly as corrosive as Coca-Cola”.

To prevent dental harm from citrus, just drink 8 ounces of water, wait 20 minutes and then brush your teeth. This amount of time should allow the acids and sugars to be safely eliminated.

Whole Almonds
Yes-nuts are a wonderful snack-high in vitamin E and a good source of fiber and protein. However, where teeth are concerned, they can spell trouble for some patients. Sometimes, snacking on hard nuts can cause already compromised teeth to crack.

Instead of munching on whole almonds, try slivered almonds instead. Pistachios, pecans and cashews are also good choices, and not quite so tough. Of course-NEVER attempt to crack unshelled nuts of any type with your teeth! That would be a recipe for disaster.

Low calorie/low fat, and yes a nice way to perk up a sandwich or end a meal, but be careful. The acid from the vinegar and sugar used in the pickling process can take sabotage vital minerals and contribute to the start of decay within the teeth.

Counteract the questionable effects of pickled foods by following them with a bite of cheese. The calcium helps to neutralize the vinegar that make pickles-pickles in the first place. Another quick fix is to chew a gum that contains xylitol. The substance reduces the acid and encourages the flow of saliva, which helps to naturally rinse out the mouth.

Dried Fruit
This nature’s candy certainly beats those processed, sugar laden choices. However, the dehydration process leaves the fruit sticky and apt to adhere to the teeth. Also, since the fruit has been dried, the natural sugars are more concentrated.

After enjoying that little box of raisins or baggie of dried mangoes, make a point to swish with water and then brush your teeth within 20 minutes. This should help keep those sticky deposits from trapping bacteria and wreaking havoc in your mouth!

Since the 15th century, folks worldwide have enjoyed this rich, anti-oxidant filled beverage. It may go down easily, but not without consequences. Coffee along with tea, is a huge culprit when it comes to staining our pearly whites. It may be a worthwhile trade-off for some, however, stained teeth are magnets for bacteria!

Avoid this cycle by cutting back on your coffee intake and sipping your java through a straw. Rinsing and brushing immediately after consumption will also be a great deterrent for both decay and discoloration.

Keep your teeth looking and feeling their best with regular cleanings. Overdue? Give us a call at 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

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