Do you ever worry that your diet may be damaging your teeth? From an early age, most of us are taught the importance of regular brushing and healthy eating, but as we get older, we start to wonder if we’ll keep all of our natural teeth for life. With one in three Australians over 75 years old having complete tooth loss and more than 60% suffering from gum disease, it pays to consider your long-term dental health sooner rather than later. This includes identifying and avoiding the worst food for your teeth.
If you still have your complete set, it’s never too early to read up on food that is bad for your teeth so you can minimise it. If you already have dental implants or All-on-4®, your priorities may be different. For example, you’ll want to avoid food that stains dental prosthesis.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to abstain from these foods completely. You can still consume them on occasion as long as you follow other tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy: brush your teeth twice a day and before you go to bed, floss, use mouthwash and see your dentist twice a year for a check-up and clean.
Taking these measures can mitigate the effects of the worst food for your teeth.
This article details some of the worst food for your teeth so that you can make an informed choice in order to protect your long-term dental health.
Worst Foods for Natural Teeth
Even if you’re lucky enough to have all of your natural teeth still, there are some foods that are especially potent at causing dental damage. Some of the worst food for your teeth include:
While it should come as no surprise that sweets are bad for your teeth, sour lollies can actually double the potential for damage. In addition to the high sugar content in all candy, the sour flavour comes from higher quantities of acids which can lower the pH level in your mouth, harming your tooth enamel.
Chewy lollies also have a habit of sticking to your teeth for longer periods of time, increasing the risk of decay.
Bread is a common and versatile food that many people eat on a daily basis. But like most carbohydrates, it often breaks down quickly into simple sugars, which can then get stuck between your teeth. This is especially true for refined white bread.
Whole wheat or oat bread is better for your mouth. They have less sugar, won’t stick to your gums and also contain essential nutrients like protein and fibre.
It’s common knowledge that alcohol is unhealthy. Drinking it to excess puts you at risk of a range of serious conditions: alcoholism, cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. Yet it’s also bad news for your oral health. It dehydrates your body, leading to a decrease in the natural flow of saliva that washes away food remnants. It also tends to be high in sugar, which increases the risk of plaque build-up and can exacerbate tooth grinding.
You can reduce the risk of dental damage by having a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
Potato chips are high in starch, which both dries your mouth out and turns to sugar that becomes trapped between the teeth. Once you eat one potato chip, it’s easy to keep eating more as well, which leads to further accumulation of sugars.
None of this means that you have to avoid food that is bad for your teeth completely. Just that it helps to be mindful of what you put in your mouth and not over-indulge if you want to keep your teeth for life, food that is bad for your teeth should be consumed only on occasion rather than frequently.
Worst Foods for Traditional Dental Implant Crowns
If you’ve already had dental implants, you still need to be conscious of what you eat. The worst food for your teeth tends to be bad for implants too. Sticky or chewy lollies, for example, can stick to your dental crown or bridge and be hard to remove. Foods and drinks that stain regular teeth – like coffee, tea, and red wine – also tend to be foods that can stain your dental prosthesis.
You need to be especially careful about what you eat in the first few days and weeks of dental implant surgery. During the early stage of recovery, it’s important to avoid hot food and drinks as the anaesthetic wears off so that you don’t burn your mouth. It’s best to stick to liquids and soft foods as your gums begin to heal, after which you can return to eating a wider range.
If you have dental implants, foods to eat sparingly to help your implants last for the long term include
Hard foods like nuts, lollipops, and taco shells can put pressure on your new implants, especially during the early recovery period. These foods can also break into pieces and get stuck around the crown or bridge.
Sticky foods such as toffee and caramel can get stuck around your crown or bridge and cause damage. Hard candies and sticky sweets are also among the worst food for your teeth.
Whether you have implants or you still have all of your natural teeth, chewing on ice is bad for your smile. It wears away your tooth enamel and can break down or degrade crowns, dentures and fillings over time as well.
If you’re chewing popcorn and bite into an unpopped kernel, it can put stress on your teeth, implant crowns, and damage them. Popcorn should be avoided for at least two weeks after dental implant surgery.
On top of being bad for your natural teeth, alcohol is in the category of drinks and food that stains the dental prosthesis. Alcohol also limits saliva production, which can hinder the healing process of implants.
Foods That Negatively Impact All-on-4® Teeth
All-on-4® is a restorative dental procedure that replaces an entire arch of teeth with just four implants: two at the front and two at the back on the upper or lower jawbone. The benefits of All-on-4® include a shorter recovery time and no bone grafting. So what effect does the worst food for your teeth have on All-on-4® dental implants?
All-on-4® is designed to replace the look and function of your natural teeth so that you can get back to eating a variety of foods you enjoy. Although a mouthful of All-on-4® implants isn’t subject to decay like a set of regular teeth, it’s still a good idea to watch what you eat if you want your dental implants to last. Food that is bad for your teeth also tends to be bad for your health anyway, so there are benefits to reducing your intake of it.
You don’t have to give these foods up completely once you have All-on-4® implants, but it’s best to minimise your consumption of them:
Sugary foods like lollies, cake, cookies or ice cream affect your gums as well as your teeth, leading to an environment in which bacteria can cause gingivitis and receding gums.
Hard or crunchy foods
Foods that are hard, brittle or crunchy, like popcorn kernels, seeds and nuts, can damage your dental implants in the early stages of your recovery. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat any hard foods with All-on-4® dental implants; it just means being cautious and avoiding these types of foods in the first 12 weeks after surgery.
Foods that stain
Food that stains regular teeth, like red wine and coffee etc., is the same food that stains the dental prosthesis, including All-on-4®.
Find Out If You’re Suitable For All-on-4®
If you’ve been living with missing teeth for a while and you’re ready to step out into the world with a new smile, All-on-4® may be the treatment for you.
It has a proven track record of success for those who have lost all or most of their teeth due to injury, illness, tooth decay or other reasons.
For more information about the worst kinds of food for your teeth, implants or whether you’re eligible for the All-on-4® treatment, book a personal consultation with Next Smile Australia.