It is important to care for the health of your teeth so they last your entire life. Some types of foods and drinks can be particularly damaging to your teeth. Here are ways you can protect your teeth from these damaging foods and drinks.
Sodas and Sports Drinks
Regular sodas and sports drinks are bad on your teeth because they are acidic. Sports drinks are the most acidic of the two drinks, having a lower pH of 2.4, versus regular soda that has a pH of 3.0 and higher. Diet sodas are just as bad on your teeth because they contain citric and phosphoric acids. The higher levels of acid of all these drinks can soften the enamel of your teeth when you drink them.
It is a good idea to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after you drink soda and sports drinks to brush your teeth. When your enamel is soft, brushing it will wear it down easily. Once the enamel is gone from your teeth, it won't grow back.
The dark color of coffee can stain your teeth and its high acidity will erode your tooth enamel.
If you drink coffee in the morning, it is best to brush your teeth without rinsing your mouth before you drink it. If you were to drink coffee before you brush your teeth in the morning, the coffee would stick to the plaque on your teeth, giving the stains more time to damage your teeth enamel. By brushing your teeth first, you will remove the sticky plaque from your teeth, preventing the coffee from staining them. And, the fluoride in the toothpaste puts a protective layer over the surface of your teeth, preventing acid damage.
After you drink coffee, it is a good idea to drink some water and swish it around in your mouth to rinse off any coffee residue remaining inside. Then, wait 30 to 60 minutes before you brush your teeth again.
Candy can be damaging to your teeth in several ways:
- Chewing on hard candy can crack, chip, or break your teeth.
- The sugar in candy gives bacteria in your mouth something to feed and grow on.
- Sour candy has high levels of acids that can soften and erode your tooth enamel.
- Sticky candy will adhere to your teeth and give the sugars and acids in the candy more time to do tooth damage.
Eating a piece of acidic fruit may not do as much damage as sour candy can. The reason for this is because you usually suck on a sour, acidic piece of candy for a longer period of time than you would spend on eating a piece of acidic fruit. The longer lasting candy is going to expose your teeth to the damaging acid for a longer period of time.
When you finish eating your candy, the sugars in your mouth will continue to do damage to your teeth for at least 20 minutes after. But, you can still eat candy and take good care of your teeth.
The best way to combat damage from acidic, sticky, or hard candy is to not brush your teeth immediately after eating it. Just as with other acidic foods that soften your enamel, you should wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating candy. While you are waiting this time, drink some water and swish it around in your mouth to help wash off any sticky candy or sugars inside your mouth. For hard candy, avoid crunching on it to keep your teeth from cracking or breaking, then drink water after eating it.
You can also eat some cheese or drink a glass of milk because dairy neutralizes the acids in the candy and helps your teeth. Or, chew on some gum that contains Xylitol which forms a protective biofilm layer on your teeth and changes your mouth's acidic environment to an alkaline environment.
Follow these tips or hop over to this site for more ideas when eating and drinking foods and drinks that are harmful to your teeth.