Let’s face it. We live in a fast food nation. There is literally a fast food chain on every corner in every major metropolitan city in the U.S. And, while a lot of these chains are trying (in vain) to “health-ify” their menus – it’s simply not enough to keep people away from greasy cheeseburgers and french fries.
Unfortunately, fast food is not only harming our waistlines, it is also ruining our teeth. That’s right – diet has a pronounced effect on oral health. Your teeth and gums are often the first to show the signs of poor nutrition.
This is sobering information, I know.
Foods that cling to teeth — most soft, sweet and sticky foods — put you at a much higher risk for cavities because they allow acids that cause tooth decay to build up on the tooth surface. Diets that eliminate entire food groups or are extremely restrictive can also be harmful because they put you at a high risk for nutrient deficiencies.
Fermentable carbohydrates, which are found in fries, crackers, cookies and chips, are extremely common and create the perfect opportunity for dental cavity-causing acids to flood your mouth.
Some of the worst offenders are soda and bottled iced tea. These drinks are filled with empty calories and sugar and can wear down your teeth’s enamel over time. Clear sodas and iced teas are especially harmful because they are full of flavor additives. Stick with water!
Sure, we all have our cravings for fried foods, starchy fries, and sweets – and it’s okay to indulge those cravings once in a while. If you do, try chewing sugarless gum or rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds afterwards to prevent food from sticking to your teeth.
And, if you really want to be kind to your body (and teeth) reach for fruits or vegetables for a snack – not a Snickers candy bar.