It’s common knowledge that sugar is bad for your teeth, but there’s a host of other foods and beverages that are bad for them too. On the flipside, there are some foods and beverages that are naturally good for teeth health.
The worst foods for your teeth
Interestingly, the best foods to avoid for healthy teeth and gums aren’t necessarily always the same foods to avoid for good general health, but they’re pretty close.
Next cab off the rank is processed carbohydrates, which covers a lot more than just refined sugars. Basically, it’s best to avoid all processed carbohydrates—including white bread—for good dental health because they’re the foods on which bacteria loves to feed, which can lead to tooth decay. This is because processed foods are already a bit soft and stick to your teeth, which makes it much easier for bacteria to break them down.
The obvious foods to avoid includes lollies, biscuits and sweetened drinks and juices, but savoury biscuits aren’t great for you either. As a general rule, anything that doesn’t require much chewing—which is most processed carbohydrates—is probably not good for your teeth.
The best foods for your teeth
The best foods for healthy teeth and gums are pH neutral (or alkaline), which means things that are not processed or sticky and in their natural state. You can’t beat fresh vegies, as well as foods that are high in calcium. In relation to the latter, dairy is great for your teeth because it has lots of calcium, and calcium is the mineral in your teeth that keeps them strong and healthy.
The one food that does surprise some people as being good for dental health is whole fruit, as compared to juice, which isn’t. Whole fruit is fine because it contains a lot of fibres and hasn’t started to break down the sugars as much as the juicing process does. That said, be wary of too much lemon, owing to high acidity.
The worst things for staining your teeth
The big three I always talk about in terms of staining teeth are red wine, tea and coffee. Plus, and this might seem counter-intuitive, but brushing immediately after you’ve had any of these is not necessarily good for your teeth. While it may help to minimise staining, the thing you have to be careful about is that wine, tea and coffee are acidic. Acids soften the surface of your teeth and your toothbrush and toothpaste are slightly abrasive as well. So, if you give your teeth a scrub immediately after consuming any of those beverages, you may be harming your enamel. It’s better to have some water and swish that around in your mouth after one of these drinks and then clean 30 minutes later.
The worst things for bad breath
Certainly, garlic is a very obvious one for bad breath, and onions are similar. Curiously, dairy can also cause bad breath, likewise canned tuna—both of which are good for your teeth from a structural perspective though!