All Day Tooth Decay | Why Your Favorite Snacks Are Ruining Your Smile

Everything we eat affects our body and smile. Snacks are good for our taste buds, but several are not good for our oral health. That’s because they can cause tooth decay. The list of the worst food for your teeth includes more than just sugary snacks. Awareness around foods that cause tooth decay can help you make better choices for your oral and overall health.

Plaque & Tooth Decay

Plaque is a soft and sticky film full of bacteria that builds up on teeth. It eats sugars in the foods we eat and produces acids that ruin tooth enamel. The acid compromises the tooth, leading to a cavity. If left untreated, the bacteria can also cause gum disease.

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

Enjoy these foods and snacks in moderation to lower the risk of tooth decay:

  • Citrus Fruits & Juices. Frequent exposure to acidic foods can ruin tooth enamel. This makes the teeth prone to decay over time. Damaged tooth enamel leads to uncomfortable sensitivity, too. Make sure to drink plenty of water after enjoying an orange, grapefruit, or another citrus. This will rinse away the acids left behind. Brushing after eating or drinking something acidic rubs the acid against your enamel. This is harmful, so only brush after rinsing with water and waiting at least 30 minutes.
  • Dried Fruits & Sticky Snacks. Many people like to eat dried fruits as a healthy snack. If you do, keep in mind that they can get stuck on and between your teeth. This creates plaque that causes tooth decay. Avoid varieties that have added sugar or are sweetened with corn syrup. This will lower your sugar intake when enjoying dried fruit. The same advice applies to caramels, jelly beans, lollipops, and hard candy. Always rinse and brush after eating.
  • Starchy Foods & Snacks. Foods like bread, chips, pasta and even crackers can be as harmful to our teeth as candy. Starches can linger in the mouth and breakdown into simple sugars for bacteria to feed on. Pay close attention while flossing and make sure you remove all debris stuck in between the teeth to avoid plaque buildup.
  • Soda & Sports Drinks. Drinking your sugars is just as bad as eating them, if not worse. When consuming a soda, many of us take our time and drink it one sip at a time – especially when at work. This is like giving your teeth a sugar bath every 30 minutes. If you drink soda, try not to prolong drinking it, and be sure to rinse with water and brush afterward. Bacteria love sugar, no matter the source, and they create the acids that cause tooth decay. Choose low-sugar drinks or stick with water.

You don’t have to vow to never eat from this list again. Eat foods that cause tooth decay in moderation and brush twice a day for two minutes. Follow this with flossing and keep your smile free from the damages of sugar and starch.