1) Carbonated Beverages & Other Drinks – Soft drinks are a perennial target of nutrition police, because they add so much sugar to the national diet. The sugar content in a soft drink – as much as a king-sized candy bar – is bad for both body and teeth. But even diet drinks aren’t safe for your teeth! Like their sugar-loaded cousins, artificially sweetened soft drinks contain tooth-damaging acids, such as phosphoric and citric. Even canned iced teas, which normally might be good for teeth, contain flavor-enhancing organic acids that can erode tooth enamel.
2) Not-So-Healthy Vitamins – Even so-called health drinks are brimming with danger for your kids’ teeth. Sports drinks are notoriously full of sugar and acids. And vitamin waters can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Chewable vitamins – from multivitamins to large chewable vitamin C tablets – are especially bad, because they contain a concentrated acid that tends to cling to and between teeth.
3) Mouth-Drying Consumables – Your kids shouldn’t have to worry about the mouth-drying symptoms of a hangover, but many medications – including common psychiatric treatments – can also leave a dry month that endangers teeth and gums. One must to take extra care to keep the mouth hydrated, from deliberately washing with water or fluoridated rinses, to mouth hydration solutions.
4) Long-Lasting and Sticky Sweets – It’s not news that caramels and other gooey, sugary sweets are bad for teeth. It’s not just the sugar, though; it’s how long the teeth are exposed to sugar. So while those caramels stick and cling tenaciously to tooth surfaces and crevices, hard candies and lollipops are also very bad; they’re designed for a long, leisurely suck. This principle applies to any sweets, from candy to sweet drinks – sugar should stay in the mouth as briefly as possible.
5) Dried Fruits – While fresh grapes and plums are considered “good” foods, if they are dried, they go from hero to villain. Although often touted as healthy snacks, dried fruits like raisins, prunes and apricots, are similar to caramels. Already sweet when fresh, their sugars are highly concentrated as the water is dried away, and their gummy texture can cling to teeth as much as gooey candy. And worse, the fruit is packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars on and around the tooth, making it worse than candy.
6) Starchy Foods – Many starchy foods, including white bread, potato chips and French fries and al dente pasta, can easily become lodged between teeth and in crevices. While they may not necessarily taste sweet, the starches can begin converting to sugar almost immediately, not only by the bacteria, but also by the pre-digestive process that begins in the mouth through the enzymes in saliva.
7) High-Acid Foods and Drinks – Citrus fruits and drinks contain powerful citric acid – in fact, such juice is often used as a cleaning agent. While oranges, lemons and grapefruit can be a healthy part of the diet, they should be consumed quickly, preferably as part of a meal, and the teeth should be rinsed afterward. Sucking on citrus fruits should be avoided; this especially applies to the “home remedy” practice sucking lemon wedges for tooth-whitening.
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