When you think of “unhealthy” food you probably think of fast food, complete with a burger stacked with three patties, bacon, cheese all doused in some creamy “special sauce.” You’d be right to label this kind of food as unhealthy. There are, however, many other “unhealthy” foods that lurk much closer to home. And when we say “unhealthy,” we’re talking about foods that wreak havoc on your oral health. Check out these oral health hazards that line the shelves of your favorite supermarket.
5. Dried Fruits
Dried apricots, dried plums, mangoes, bananas yadda yadda yadda are considered health foods. You’re better off, however, with the actual fruit in its original form rather than dried. Once dried, the lack of water leads to naturally present sugars become extremely concentrated. This means that dried fruits act like any sticky, sugary food: it clings to teeth, trapping cavity-causing bacteria and sugars on the teeth.
4. Energy and Sports Drinks
The two big problems with these drinks are their sugar content and their acidity. Beverages like Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water, Red Bull and most, if not all, similar drinks are very acidic; respectively, their pH levels: 2.95, 2.75, 3.1 and 3.26. All of these levels have corrosive effects on the teeth. A study tested the acidity levels in sports and energy drinks by bathing human tooth enamel into each beverage for 15 minutes. It took a mere five days for enamel to show signs of decay! Energy drinks (thanks carbonation) caused double the damage that sports drinks did.
3. Diet Soda
Sticking with beverages, we come to our third item on this list of worst supermarket products for teeth. People too often mistakenly believe that since diet soda is sugar-free means it’s won’t destroy your teeth. Sugar may be absent, but not acidity. The acid in soda wears away tooth enamel. Limit soda in your diet as much as possible. If you must indulge, rinse your teeth with a glass of water (don’t brush!) afterward to rinse away some of the acid to minimize its effects.
Not the literal fish, but Goldfish crackers. Surprising? These crackers wreck havoc on your mouth for the same reason as our final food product. Simple starch foods breakdown into sugar very quickly, which invites cavity-causing bacteria. To make things worse, these kinds of starchy foods become sticky in the mouth, attracting even more bacteria.
Worse than candy, soda, energy drinks and most other supermarket products, saltines have been called the worst food for teeth. Saltine crackers are a simple starch foods like Goldfish. The starch gets converted to sugar almost immediately. And also like Goldfish, saltines have a knack for becoming gummy and sticky, getting packed into hidden spaces between teeth and gums. What makes saltines slightly worse is the perception people have about them: they’re innocent, light foods, how could they be unhealthy? Well, anytime you feed oral bacteria with simple sugars they’re going multiply, boring holes in your teeth and stinking up your breath.
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate and top-quality comprehensive care dentist located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee. Check out our website, reviews, Facebook page Connect with us and learn!