Lollies and sweets are bad for your teeth. Well, that’s not a surprise; even a 3-year-old child knows that. But people are always caught off guard when they hear that certain healthy foods are just as unkind to your teeth and can cause them to rot.
I see many parents who cannot understand why their child has cavities when they have such a “good diet”. However they are quite surprised to learn that in their attempts to give their family a health diet they are actually overloading on sugars and acids. So which of the so called healthy foods are actually bad for your teeth, and most likely not so healthy after all!
OJ, grapefruit, pineapple and other fruit juices are packed with sugar. Even though it’s the natural kind that’s supposedly better for the rest of your body, the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth like it just as much as any other type of sugar. They gobble it up and multiply in droves. Plus, fruit juices contain a lot of acid, and acid from any kind of food or drink — even nutritious ones — erodes tooth enamel.
Avoid having fruit juices if you can as they are nothing more than concentrated sugar and acid which has the same effect on your body as eating teaspoons of refined sugar. However if you simply can’t go without these juices swish water around in your mouth afterwards to help neutralise the acids and then brush your teeth.
We are told raisins, sultanas and other dried fruit supply your body with cancer-fighting antioxidants. But once these fruits have been dehydrated and dried the sugar ratio is dramatically altered and the bacteria in your mouth just see a sugar feast. One small 30-gram serving of raisins contains about 25 grams of sugar — as much as a slice of cake topped with ice cream! Also adding to the problem is the fact that dried fruit is sticky so it often gets caught in your teeth where it can linger for hours acting as a constant drip feed of sugar. Therefore it would probably be advantageous to eat small amounts of fresh fruit instead of dried if you don’t want your teeth to decay.
White bread, potatoes and rice
The bacteria in your mouth that love sugar also adore starches like potatoes, white bread and white rice. These foods turn into a gluey paste that clings to your teeth. Bacteria prefer these kinds of starches, because they’re broken down much faster than whole grains, like whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Try to choose whole grains instead as they are moderately better for your body as well as your mouth. Or avoid starchy food where you can.
Yogurt often contains added sugar and is quite acidic so it too feeds the sugar loving bacteria and erodes tooth enamel.
For a more holistic approach to caring for your teeth it is important to understand that essentially any foods containing sugars, carbohydrate or starch and those which are acidic even if they are supposedly healthy will increase your risk of developing tooth decay and have the same affect on your metabolism and body as eating refined sugar.