5 Foods That Contribute to Tooth Loss
Food is something that every living being has in common. Since everyone needs food to survive, oftentimes going out to eat is the first date idea that comes to mind. There are endless choices for us to choose from, therefore everyone gravitates towards whatever foods taste the best to them.
Unfortunately, the foods that taste the best aren’t always the best for your body. We tend to eat a lot of foods that are processed and packaged, which are high in carbs and sugars. Traditionally, people enjoy indulging in sweet desserts after their meals as well. Eating too many unhealthy foods can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and, if not taken care of, tooth loss.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
When food is consumed, it sticks to all areas of the teeth including in between the teeth and gums. If not removed, the food stays in these areas causing bacteria buildup called plaque. This plaque eats at the enamel and weakens the tooth. Over time, those weakened teeth can develop tiny holes called cavities. It’s important to have a dentist such as Dr. Karla Bloomquist in Gig Harbor, WA, fill your cavity before it worsens.
If cavities aren’t taken care of, they’ll grow and cause the teeth to decay. Once the bacteria settle on the teeth and create the holes, the nerves and gums are its next victims. The bacteria infect the gums and supportive tissues of the tooth and the tooth becomes loose. The bacteria begin to go deeper into the tooth as well until it infects the center of the tooth and exposes the nerves of the tooth. Root canal therapy can sometimes save a tooth at this point, but other times the tooth is too damaged and requires removal. In this case, the tooth and nerves are dead and must be extracted by a dentist such as Dr. Richard Rowntree, located in Kingwood, TX. before it affects the other teeth. He also offers implant services to replace the extracted tooth.
Foods That Can Cause Tooth Loss
Many Americans live busy lives and choose to eat whatever is available to them. Most of the foods we eat contain sugar, which is the number one cause of tooth decay. Sugar can also keep people awake at night which may cause them to develop sleep disorders. If your sleep is being affected, Fort Worth, TX orthodontist, Dr. Sheila Birth, can find the right treatment solution so you can get the undisturbed sleep you need.
Another popular ingredient in our food is carbohydrates. Essentially any foods that contain grains or starch contains carbs. When broken down, the carbohydrates turn into sugar which is oftentimes the culprit in tooth decay situations.
Food and beverages that dry out your mouth can also lead to tooth decay and tooth loss, because these substances decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva plays a role in removing the plaque, so less saliva means more plaque sitting on your teeth. While most foods can cause teeth to decay if not removed from the teeth, there are a few common ones that dentists recommend avoiding or limiting.
Soda is one of the most dangerous substances for your teeth and has no nutritional value. There is an average of 39 grams of sugar in a can of soda. It’s also known to dry out your mouth, which causes the sugar to sit on your teeth longer.
2. Sour Candies
Like soda, candy is high in sugar and provides zero nutritional value to your body. Sour candy, however, has multiple factors that can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
Sour candies such as sour patch kids are:
- Sticky — The gummy substance they’re made of requires more chewing, which causes the candy to get stuck in the crevices of your teeth.
- Acidic — The sour taste in the candy comes from the acids in the candies, and these acids erode tooth enamel.
A surprising one to make the list is ice. According to the American Dental Association, you should avoid chewing on ice, because it can damage your teeth. The hardness of ice can damage tooth enamel and put you at risk for cracked and chipped teeth.
When people think carbs they usually think of bread. When someone goes on a diet, one of the first foods they often cut out is bread. Bread, especially white bread, is made up of starch and carbohydrates which are broken down to sugar when consumed. Bread is another food that becomes gooey when chewed and sticks to your teeth easily. Since cutting out bread can be difficult for some people, wheat bread is the least starchy and sugary option.
5. Citrus Fruit
While fruit is thought to be a sweet, healthy alternative to candy, too much acidic fruit can lead to tooth loss. Although it’s natural, the acidity of fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges can weaken your enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to decay. Fruit is the most nutritional option on this list, but should still be eaten in moderation.
How To Protect Your Teeth From Decay
With the diverse amount of food we eat in today’s society, it’s nearly impossible to cut out sugar completely. Since bacteria live in your mouth, you can still experience tooth decay even if you cut back on sugar.
While limiting sugary foods will help, maintaining good oral hygiene is the only way to completely prevent tooth decay.
Steps you can take to improve your oral health include:
- Brushing After Each Meal — If you’re unable to brush after each meal, dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day.
- Flossing Daily — Flossing once a day is standard, but flossing after eating sticky foods is beneficial.
- Visiting the Dentist — Scheduling biannual teeth cleanings with your dentist is recommended.
Seeking Professional Help
Busy lifestyles can make it hard for people to balance a healthy diet and a good oral hygiene routine all while getting enough sleep at night. Luckily, there are professionals to help you live a happier healthier life.
These professionals include:
- Nutritionist — to help you create a healthy diet
- Dentist — to help you maintain healthy teeth
- Sleep Specialists — a doctor such as Dr. Bell can help you sleep soundly at night