At the moment, due to the COVID-19 situation, many dentists are only accepting emergency appointments. Of course, dealing with a toothache or another dental crisis is one of the last things you want to do during such a pandemic, so it’s a good idea to take multiple steps at home to try and prevent such oral health issues from occurring in the first place. A good way to do that is to pay close attention to your own diet and start distancing yourself from any foods or beverages that carry a high risk of hurting your teeth. Here are just 5 examples of snacks and drinks to stay away from when the safety of your smile is a concern.
1. Sour Candy
Everyone knows that candy – or, more specifically, the sugars found in candy – can easily lead to tooth decay. (Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and turn it into acid that can eat through the tooth.) What you may not have realized is that some specific treats can be worse for your oral health than others! Sour candy is acidic and often sticky; that means it can stay on the teeth for a long time, weakening them and increasing the risk of a cavity forming.
Like sour candy, soda can launch a two-pronged attack on the teeth: it’s filled with sugars that encourage decay, and it can weaken the enamel with its own acidity. Always follow up a sip of soda with some water so that the harmful liquid is quickly washed out of your mouth.
You may not even realize it, but bread is filled with starches that, when exposed to saliva, break down and turn into sugar. This is especially an issue since bread can stick to the crevices between your teeth, making it difficult to remove. In general, whole wheat bread (which contains less added sugar and doesn’t break down as easily) is your safest option.
4. Dried Fruit
Any balanced, healthy diet should contain plenty of fruit. However, dried fruits could be doing more damage than you realize. They tend to stick to the teeth, and the sugar they contain is highly concentrated. That said, it’s okay to enjoy dried fruits every once in a while as long as you brush and floss afterwards.
Unlike other foods and beverages, ice represents a much more immediate threat to your oral health. Crunching on it – as well as any other hard substance – could chip or break your enamel, leaving you with a damaged tooth or a loosened dental crown.
Bear in mind that while there is a wide variety of foods and beverages that can lead to dental emergencies, there are plenty of other options that can actually protect your oral health (such as crunchy fruits and vegetables that scrub the teeth while you chew them or dairy products that contain calcium to strengthen the enamel). Plan each meal and snack carefully, and you should be able to keep the plaque and bacteria in your mouth under control until your next regular appointment.
About the Author
Dr. S. John Salivonchik has built a reputation as a skilled general and restorative dentist over two decades, and he loves being able to work with his hands while helping patients find relief from cavities and other oral health problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he is pleased to offer emergency consultations through smartphones. To get in touch with his practice, visit his website or call (610) 502-1545.