Tooth decay happens when acids and bacteria caused by plaque and the foods we eat attack our tooth enamel. Tooth enamel—the hard substance that makes our teeth shiny—is meant to protect our teeth, but it can be worn away over time due to damage. Once tooth enamel is gone, cavities can follow.
Cavities may start out small, but they have the potential to become large enough to compromise a tooth. We know that foods containing sugar are bad for our teeth, such as soda and candy. But what are some surprising foods that can cause cavities?
Yogurt typically contains high amounts of calcium which can benefit teeth, but unless the label says “unsweetened”, you could be consuming much more sugar than you think. Sweetened yogurts are usually those that are flavored, whether they’re vanilla or fruit flavored. These yogurts can contain as much sugar as a can of soda, which can hurt your teeth and cause cavities over time.
Yogurts often masquerade as a health food, but choose unsweetened yogurts for all the benefits without the added sugar !
Citrus fruits that contain high amounts of vitamin C are certainly beneficial for our bodies and even for our gum health. However, the acid content of these fruits can harm our tooth enamel, especially if eaten without water or when we have a dry mouth.
These fruits include lemons, strawberries, and oranges. You can still enjoy these fruits, just consume water with them and always wait a minimum of 30 minutes to brush your teeth afterward!
White Bread and Chips
White bread tends to be soft and sticky, which can get stuck to our teeth and contribute to tooth decay . Any type of white, soft bread has the potential to hurt your teeth as it’s made from simple carbohydrates which can quickly break down into sugar.
The same is true for chips such as potato chips and even crackers, which can get stuck in the deeper grooves present on our molars and cause acids that attack tooth enamel. For healthier choices, crunch on raw veggies or skip the bread in favor for a lettuce wrap!
Pickles and Pickled Vegetables
Pickles and pickled vegetables including fermented foods (think sauerkraut) are high in acid. Although these foods can be healthy, many people aren’t aware that the acid content can damage tooth enamel.
In fact, research has shown that pickles are one of the main foods that can contribute to tooth decay as the result of their effect on tooth enamel . You can still enjoy pickles and fermented foods, but always consume them with water to help neutralize the acidic effect on your oral cavity.
Do you love of any of the above foods? If so, you can still continue to enjoy them, just take precautions and be aware of the fact that they can hurt your teeth and contribute to cavity formation. You can also visit your dentist for regular checkups to protect your teeth even more against tooth decay!