This is nothing new — sugar is bad for your teeth. But we sometimes forget how prevalent it is in many of the foods we deem “healthy.” We caught up with Dr. Joseph Banker, a celebrity cosmetic dentist, on what healthy foods can mess with your gorgeous smile. Your best best? Brush after eating these tooth decay culprits.
“It is important to understand that prolonged exposure to acids or sugars can damage teeth,” says Dr. Banker. “Acids can eat away at tooth enamel and sugars are converted to acids by oral bacteria.” Both citrus juices and fruits are acidic and are high in sugar. Some even have the same sugar content as soda. “The stringy fibers [from the fruit] can actually get lodged between teeth causing further exposure.”
High in sugar and sticky, bananas cling to the teeth and don’t promote the flow of saliva. (Firm, crunchy fruits actually prevent tooth decay by buffering acid and washing away food particles with their high water content.)
Even worse is dried fruit. Not only do they contain the same amount of sugar before they were dried, but now they are even more concentrated. They also stick to the teeth and keep food particles and acid on the tooth’s surface.
“Chewable vitamins seem like a good idea, except the reason they taste so good is because they are usually full of sugar,” says Dr. Banker. “While chewing, they stick in the grooves creating a great environment for bacteria to develop a cavity.”
Foods you should add to your diet: raw vegetable and nuts. “High in fiber, raw vegetables are slightly coarse and can act as a scrubbing agent, cleaning the teeth as well as stimulating salivary flow. Nuts are abrasive and simulate salivary flow. They help wash away plaque and can also remove stains.”