8 Foods Destroying Your Teeth

8 Foods You Didn’t Know Were Damaging Your Teeth

By Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Eating a nutrient-rich diet of whole foods and natural beverages is undeniably beneficial to your well-being. However, you might not be aware that some healthy options—even…gasp!…certain superfoods—can potentially damage your smile.

Here’s what you need to know…

8 Foods You Didn’t Know Were Bad For Your Teeth

Vinegar—the primary ingredient in a cucumber’s fermentation process—forces open the sensitive pores of enamel. When this takes place, teeth become considerably more susceptible to staining or rotting. For a dental-friendly snacking alternative, opt for raw cucumbers instead.

While these naturally sweet fruits contain immune-boosting antioxidants, their dark juices are notorious for discoloring the surface of teeth. To ensure these stains won’t become permanent, rinse thoroughly with water or non-toxic mouthwash immediately after consuming deeply hued berries.

Red Beets.
Relatively high on the glycemic index—a benchmark for gauging the sugar levels of carbohydrate foods—beets can trigger enamel decay. In addition, their purple “hyper-pigmentation” can leave noticeable stains. As with berries, make sure to flush that juicy residue from your mouth once you’ve finished eating.      

Citrus Fruits.
Sure, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, and grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but the acid can weaken the enamel of your teeth. Instead, munch on apples for bacteria-fighting fiber.

Fluoride Water.
Studies published by the American Dental Association and Center for Disease Control suggest that overexposure to fluoride is the behind dental fluorosis, which causes brown and yellow flecks on the teeth. Left untreated, its adverse effects could even spread to the body’s skeletal and organ systems. Drinking too much fluoride-fortified water? Look for a pure mineral water instead for a refreshing chemical-free substitute.    

Organic Milk.
This calcium-fortified liquid may seem like a safe bet due to its essential nutrients and proteins, which help build strong bones. But the sugar in lactose can lead to tooth decay and increase the risk of cavities. Can’t resist that creamy texture? Look for a non-dairy equivalent instead.

Cough Syrup.
Cough syrup may be a game-changer when sick, but the sucrose, fructose, and citric acid can lead to another problem: tooth erosion. Several brands also contain alcohol which depletes saliva, allowing sugars to permeate the mouth. Therefore, taking medications in pill form is generally safer for oral health. Love the syrup? Make sure to wash your mouth out thoroughly immediately after.

Black Tea.
Black tea is chockfull of tannins, oxidized leaves, and fermented ingredients that discolor the surface of teeth. Tea may even stain your teeth more than coffee. Overtime, this residue becomes increasingly visible, so guzzle green tea instead to maintain that optimal whiteness.

If your dietary preferences include any of these “smile spoilers,” don’t obsess too much—they won’t cause irreversible dental damage when enjoyed in small and infrequent doses. By limiting overall consumption (and taking the necessary hygienic precautions), your teeth are more likely to remain strong, healthy, and dazzling in the long-run!

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