The CDC recognizes tooth decay as one of the most widespread health concerns in the United States. Despite being largely preventable, nearly 9 out of 10 adults over the age of 20 suffer from dental caries (tooth decay). Part of the problem is the foods that we eat on a daily basis. You might know that candy and oranges damage teeth, but these are not the only tooth-damaging foods. Some of the foods that increase your risk of tooth decay seem completely ordinary and benign.

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are a popular grab-and-go food in today’s fast-paced society, but they increase your risk for dental caries. Most bread recipes call for added sugar, and white bread contains bleached wheat that breaks down into sugar quickly. Bread also sticks to your teeth, providing cavity-causing bacteria with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Unless you don’t eat meat, most sandwiches contain several slabs of deli meat. Just like bread, deli meat contains added sugar to make it more flavorful. While the bread from your sandwich sticks to your teeth, the meat inside works its way in-between your teeth, increasing your risk of developing decay in these tight spaces.

Fruits

Most people know that oranges and lemons contain acids that damage tooth enamel, but other fruits also hurt your enamel. On the pH scale, used to measure acidity, any pH lower than 7 is considered acidic. Tooth enamel begins to erode around a pH of 5.5, meaning that anything with a lower pH will damage your enamel.  Apples, grapes, blueberries, and peaches all have a pH of less than 4. These natural foods might offer your body essential vitamins and nutrients, but you should not eat them excessively.

Pickled Foods

Whether you enjoy common pickles such as cucumbers, or the more obscure pickled plum, these flavorful foods can damage tooth enamel. Pickles of all kinds use vinegar to preserve them and infuse them with their salty-sour taste. Vinegar usually has a pH between 2.4 and 3.4, putting it well below the dental-friendly pH.

Diet Soda

Many people switch to diet soda as an alternative to regular soda in order to protect their teeth and overall health. Although these drinks contain significantly less sugar than regular soda, they are not much better for your teeth. The average diet soda has a pH of around 3.2.

Preventative Care

You can protect your teeth by practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing twice a day. Scheduling two professional dental cleanings per year can help catch any developing tooth decay and stop it before severe damage occurs. The dedicated staff at B & D Dental Excellence offers porcelain dental crowns and white fillings in order to provide natural looking repairs for the damage done by tooth decay.

Sugary and acidic foods can also increase your risk of staining. If you have yellowing teeth, you might benefit from professional tooth whitening. For deeper staining, we adhere customized porcelain veneers to the surface of your tooth in order to give you a bright smile. These services will restore your teeth and give you something worth smiling about.

The health and looks of your teeth matter. For more information about protecting your teeth from decay and staining, please call 845-627-7645 or contact us online for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence in Rockland County.