If there’s one thing that can easily kill your chances at making a good first impression, it’s teeth with bad stains or obvious signs of decay. With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that some of the foods you eat are also interacting with plaque on the surfaces of your teeth, creating acids that will gradually break down their enamel. The worst foods for your teeth tend to be those that are either very sugary, dark, sticky or acidic. Although it might seem impractical to attempt to eliminate every one of these foods from your diet, it’s certainly helpful to know which ones they are and why they can cause so much harm.
Here are a few foods to watch out for:
1. Sugary Foods and Beverages
This can include not only your favorite sodas, but also many of today’s popular sports drinks. The sugar in these beverages produces acids that continue attacking your teeth for several minutes after you drink them. If you’re just gradually sipping on them, this effect tends to go on even longer. To avoid prolonging this damage, try drinking these beverages all at once with your meal. Just make sure it’s not a sugary meal consisting of dried fruits, candies and other sweets. Even the carbohydrates in saltine crackers are known to convert to sugar, as soon as you put them into your mouth. This will cause the exact same process to occur.
2. Sticky Foods
Most of the foods in this category are candies, which have been responsible for probably more dental problems than any other modern food. The problem is rather obvious, in that they remain in close contact with the surfaces of the teeth for far longer, because they’re not as easily washed away. Stickiness is yet another problem with the saltine crackers mentioned above, as they become rather gooey when they are chewed and this sticky mess has a way of getting caught between your teeth.
3. Dark Foods and Beverages
Most of the problems associated with dark foods and beverages have to do with staining. Generally, the darker the substance happens to be, the more it’s going to stain your teeth. If you’re big on black coffee or even black tea, you might consider adding some milk or cream to your beverage, just for the sake of reducing this effect. The same type of staining has been known to occur as the result of eating dark-colored berries and even certain sauces, like soy sauce and tomato sauce.
4. Acidic Foods and Beverages
Two other dark beverages not mentioned above are sodas and red wine. This is because their acidic qualities are even more damaging than their ability to stain teeth. Actually, both red and white wines are acidic, but red wine can cause both problems. Other acidic foods include citrus fruits and tomatoes. All of these can eat away at the enamel on the surface of your teeth. If you like sucking on limes, you might think twice about doing that. Whenever you consume these foods or beverages, try flushing your mouth out with some water to buffer the effects of the acid.
Remember that most of these foods are generally harmless when consumed in moderation. Even though they’re considered the worst foods for your teeth, eating them here and there is not going to make your teeth rot, provided you take the time to properly care for them. The problem is that many people tend to binge on some of them more often than they should and if you’re somewhat careless about brushing and flossing, all that accumulated crud can lead to all sorts of issues with your teeth.