The Health Advocate

 
by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

 
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Certain foods are known to be more detrimental to your dental health than others. In addition to sugary snacks and beverages, you may be surprised to learn about some of the other foods, many of which are actually considered otherwise healthy, that can put your teeth in jeopardy. Be sure to take care when eating any of these four foods.

Almonds


These tasty nuts are packed with vitamin E and healthy fats, but they can also harm your teeth. The durability caused by the high density of these nutrient-rich foods can be too much for your teeth to take on in brunt force. If you bite down directly on a whole almond, you may cause cracks or even chips in your teeth from the strain, resulting in a trip to an emergency dentist. Biting into a whole almond the wrong way can also throw your bite out of alignment due to the curve of the almond combined with the resistance of the hard nut. This misalignment may end up putting undue strain on certain teeth and causing more damage long after the almond itself has been consumed. If you want to eat raw or roasted almonds, do your teeth a favor and stick to chopped almonds, almond slivers or almond slices rather than whole nuts.

Lemons


The juice from lemons is known to be highly acidic and can wear down tooth enamel. If you sweeten a lemon with sugar or add lemon slices to a sugary drink, the effect can be even more damaging to your teeth. Eating lemons can also diminish the whiteness of your teeth and leave them looking yellow when the dentin is exposed because of the lost enamel. Tooth sensitivity may increase as well. However, lemon is very good for gut health and you don’t need to take it out of your diet. Lemon won’t stick to your teeth more than any other substance if baked or basted into a dish, and briefly swishing some water in your mouth after drinking acidic beverages will prevent the acid from settling on your enamel.

Caramel


The sticky consistency of caramel can adhere to teeth and contribute to bacterial growth that may put you at greater risk for cavities. Since caramel is more difficult to remove with brushing or drinking water, the resulting bacterial growth could also cause a serious. It is important to remove any caramel trapped in your teeth after eating, and caramel in general should be reserved as an occasional treat. Some people may have also experienced the sensation of having their teeth “glued together” by caramel, and yanking your teeth apart in this state puts significant strain on your roots and cause teeth to come loose. Because caramel is made mostly of sugar, it can dissolve in water, and heat can reduce the gluing effect, so try to gently melt the caramel free with the heat of your mouth or warm water instead of forcing your jaws open.

Popcorn


Popcorn is a healthy, whole-grain snack, especially when eaten with little or no added butter or salt. However, popcorn is known to increase the amount of lactic acid inside the mouth. This buildup of lactic acid can have a corrosive effect on teeth. Popcorn kernels themselves can crack and chip teeth, as well. Even the kernel shells can cause damage, as I’m sure everyone can relate to those opaque slivers becoming stuck between teeth or in the gum line. When this happens, it could contribute to corrosion of the enamel, bone loss, and eventually, the death of the tooth itself. While you don’t need to eliminate popcorn from your diet, it is important to thoroughly clean your teeth of any shells after eating, drink water to flush out the lactic acid, and always avoid biting or chewing whole kernels.

It is unlikely that you can entirely avoid all of these foods, and you shouldn’t have to. Being aware of the dangers that these foods present to your oral health will prepare you to eat them safely and clean properly afterwards, preventing ...    Continue



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