Avoid these 5 foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth
Oral hygiene and having healthy teeth is just as important for your wellbeing as exercising and the food you eat. Taking care of your teeth and gums helps prevent gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay. Studies have shown that the healthier your teeth are, the better your overall health will be.¹
Bacteria and inflammatory chemicals found in the mouth (as a result of poor dental hygiene, plaque build-up and tooth decay) can spread through the body via the blood, negatively affecting other tissues in the body. If you’re concerned about your dental health and you want to make your teeth a priority, learn how to improve your dental health naturally and avoid the following five foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth.
How does diet affect dental health?
Diet affects dental health in many ways. Certain foods and drinks can stain your teeth, contribute to plaque build-up and damage your tooth enamel due to their acidity. Some foods and drinks (especially those that are high in sugar) lower the pH in your mouth and cause bacteria to proliferate, leading to an array of dental problems including cavities and gum disease.
Overly acidic foods can create enamel erosion where the surface of your teeth dissolves encouraging decay.
What foods and drinks are bad for your teeth?
- Sugar-laden foods (jam, desserts, ice cream, flavoured yoghurts, pasta sauces, snack bars and condiments like ketchup) refined carbohydrates (bread, pastries, biscuits, cakes, breakfast cereals), chocolate, sweets and mints. Sugar is the main contributing factor for tooth decay; when bacteria in the mouth break down the sugar, they produce an acid that damages tooth enamel – the first stage of tooth decay.
- Coffee is highly acidic and can weaken the enamel of your teeth, making them become brittle and thin. Black tea can stain your teeth and gums due to its tannin content.
- Alcohol is high in sugar and very acidic. Drinking red wine, malty beers or dark soft drink mixers such as cola can also cause teeth staining.
- Fizzy drinks are loaded with sugar and they also contain acids which can erode your teeth.
- Canned fruit are stored in a sugary syrup which equates to the equivalent of four to six teaspoons of sugar.
How to improve dental health naturally
- Eat more greens and alkalising foods such as vegetables, seeds and legumes to help maintain the pH levels inside your mouth and prevent over-acidity.
- Use a high-quality water filter to avoid fluoridated water. Tap water contains a synthetic, industrial fluoride chemical which can negatively impact bones and teeth, as well as other organs in the body.
- Brush your teeth regularly with a natural-bristle toothbrush, after every meal if possible, as this will remove unwanted food particles and prevent plaque from building up.
- Make a natural toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide and bicarbonate soda (baking soda) which will not only help reduce teeth staining, but will also kill off bacteria and reduce infections. You can mix two teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide with one teaspoon of bicarb to make a toothpaste. Make sure the hydrogen peroxide you use is 100% pure, without harmful additives.
- Try oil pulling which a practice that involves swirling oil around your mouth to remove bacteria and toxins, and prevent staining. You can use sunflower oil, sesame oil or coconut oil. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around your mouth, back and forth through your teeth. Start with a couple of minutes of oil pulling a day and build up to fifteen to twenty minutes over a period of two to four weeks. If you have amalgam or white fillings, consult with your natural therapy practitioner before oil pulling.
Healthy teeth, healthy body
Looking after your teeth is essential for maintaining good overall health. Bacteria and toxins from the mouth can spread through the body causing inflammation and damage to other tissues. Eat a clean and alkalising diet, rich in vegetables and avoid teeth-damaging foods and drinks like sugar, coffee and alcohol. Brush your teeth regularly with a natural-bristle toothbrush and natural toothpaste, invest in a good-quality water filter and use practices like oil pulling to keep your teeth healthy and strong.