citrus can be bad for teeth

Previously we wrote about foods that promote good oral health, and that can help your teeth and gums in many ways.

This time, we look at the dark side. These are foods that you should limit, in the interest of avoiding plaque. Plaque can cause your teeth to decay and lead to gum disease; it is a sticky, bacteria-laden substance that hardens on your teeth.

Here are the foods to limit – or outright avoid – in the battle against plaque:

1. Chips

These chips – corn chips, potato chips, tortilla chips – are very starchy. That starch, in turn, transforms into sugar, which gets trapped in the crevices between your teeth. The sugar feeds the bacteria in the plaque, and causes the plaque to expand. Flossing after crunching on chips can help mitigate these adverse effects.

2. Citrus fruits

Vitamin C is great for you, but acidic foods such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can erode your enamel. When your enamel erodes, you can be exposed to tooth decay. To help stave off any of these negative effects, rinse your mouth with water after eating citrus, or after drinking citrus juices.

3. Dried fruits

They are delicious, but dried apricots, figs, prunes, and raisins are sticky. They get caught in your teeth, and stuck in those nooks and crannies of your mouth. When little pieces get stuck in your teeth, that deposits sugar. The fresh, non-dried assortments of apricots and other fruits have a lower concentration of sugar. Therefore, they are better for your teeth. As with the citrus, rinsing your mouth with water after eating them will help you.

4. Ice

It’s water! True. And water is great for your mouth. But chewing on ice can hurt the enamel on your teeth. It could also loosen your crowns, or chip your teeth. Ice is fine to have in your drinks, but please do not chew on such hard substances.

5. Bread

That plaque responds to sugar, especially sticky sugar. And bread, once you chew it, turns into a sticky, starchy paste. It gets stuck in your teeth, and the starch becomes sugar. Breads that have less added sugar, like whole wheat, are better options.

We wish you and your family a healthy season, and hope your meals are joyous and delicious.

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