Biting into a crunchy or chewy food can be immensely satisfying, but spare a thought for your teeth. Certain foods can be hazardous for your oral health and are hard enough to chip or crack your teeth, or they can pull out a filling. That yummy snack could cost you far more than you bargained for, as repairing a tooth can be inconvenient and potentially expensive. Other foods may not chip or crack a tooth, but they contain so much sugar that they can easily cause tooth decay. Listed below are some of the worst offenders for hurting teeth.
- Hard Sweets and Lollies
If you love a hard sweet, they’re in mind it’s meant to be sucked so it can dissolve slowly in the mouth. Attempting to bite down on a hard sweet or a lolly can easily chip or crack a tooth. Additionally, as you bite down on a hard sweet, it can break into tiny pieces that can easily become lodged between teeth, an extremely uncomfortable situation. Hard sweets can damage teeth and other dental restorations like crowns, bridges, veneers, and fillings.
- Dried Fruit
Dried fruit may seem a healthy snack, but it tends to be very sticky, and the process of drying fruit concentrates the sugars. When you eat dried fruit, it can easily become stuck between your teeth and is difficult to remove. The longer sugary foods remain on your teeth, the more damage they can cause because harmful bacteria use the sugars for energy, creating acid as a byproduct that weakens your tooth enamel, eventually causing cavities. After eating dried fruit, it’s best to rinse your mouth with water to help remove the residue. Wait at least half an hour before brushing and flossing your teeth, allowing acidity levels to reduce, returning your mouth to a more normal pH. As this occurs, your tooth enamel becomes harder, so it is safe to brush. Brushing softer and weaker tooth enamel can erode it further.
Popcorn can be a delicious snack, but those hard kernels can easily chip and crack teeth. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for our practice to see patients with chipped teeth because they have inadvertently bitten down on an unpopped kernel. Another hazard with eating popcorn is that the kernels can easily become stuck deep in your gums. When this happens, you can try gently flossing around the affected tooth to remove the offending kernel but resist the temptation to dig into the gum tissue to try to remove it. If the kernel doesn’t come out easily, come and see us immediately for professional dental care.
Meat contains many useful nutrients that are good for general and dental health but be aware of any bones. Accidentally crunching down on a bone could fracture your tooth or worse. Ideally, stick to eating boneless meat instead or approach bone-in meat with caution!
It is not just foods, as using your teeth as tools will damage them, so resist the temptation to use teeth for opening packets or parcels.