Caring for your teeth means more than just brushing several times each day. Good dental hygiene takes a broader approach that includes making careful choices about the foods you eat. Some foods are known to be particularly prone to growing the bacteria that can lead to plaque and encourage dental caries. If you consume these foods, you should take special care to brush carefully to prevent dental problems.
Candies, caramel snacks and other treats that stick to the teeth are among the top contenders for worst foods for your teeth. These foods leave sugary residue on the teeth that is conducive to the growth of bacteria. It is this bacteria that leads to plaque development on teeth. The bacteria then create acids that can eat into the enamel of teeth causing cavities. Though avoiding these foods is the best plan, you can avoid the bad effects of sticky, sugary foods by brushing immediately after eating them.
Preserving the protective enamel on your teeth is another way you can help to protect your brilliant smile. Eating acidic foods frequently can eat into this protective coating and allow cavities to form. Acidic foods like oranges, grapefruit and dishes with vinegar can have a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Fruit juices that combine both an acidic effect with a sugary film can be double trouble for dental health. Careful brushing after these foods will help to preserve your tooth enamel.
Soft drinks are among the worst offenders for damaging tooth enamel. These drinks contain a high percentage of sugar and are usually allowed to sit on teeth throughout the day. The sugar is then used as food for bacteria in the mouth and makes the perfect environment for tooth decay. As you will learn in any dental clinic, even sports drinks and smoothies can have this effect on teeth. Choose water or fruit-flavored water instead for re-hydrating after athletic activities or in hot weather.
Soft, gooey baked goods are delicious but create an environment in the mouth that encourages the growth of bacteria that leads to greater risk for dental caries. These foods tend to stick to the teeth for a period of time allowing bacteria to feed on the sugary remains left between teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly is the best way to remove all traces of these foods so that bacteria will not flourish.