We all want a bright, beautiful smile. That’s why at-home whitening treatments are so popular, and it’s why so many of us suffer through years of orthodontic agony in our adolescent years. Having nice teeth isn’t just an aesthetic preference, either — it’s a matter of health, too. Nobody wants to go through the horrors of a root canal, and studies have shown a link between poor dental hygiene and heart disease. In addition to brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist, you can help your teeth look and feel their best by adjusting your eating habits. Here are some foods and drinks to avoid.
As if the sugar in soda wasn’t bad enough, it’s also highly acidic. The acid in soda can be nearly as corrosive to your teeth as battery acid. While colas are more acidic than their clear soda counterparts, light or clear colored sodas were actually found to be much more damaging to teeth. If you must get your bubbly soft drink fix, go for root beer — it was found to be the least acidic of all sodas. Another way to limit damage is to drink your soda through a straw.
2. Sour Candy
The sugar in sour candy is bad for your teeth, but once again it’s the acidic nature of this treat that makes it a particularly bad offender. The pucker factor that makes these candies so wonderfully exciting also erodes your teeth much more intensely than regular sweets.
Fruits are excellent for you in so many ways, just not quite so excellent for your teeth. Citrus fruits and berries are the worst offenders, with high amounts of enamel-damaging acid. Of course, you don’t want to completely eliminate fruits from your diet. Try eating fruit with a meal or making a smoothie and drinking your fruit through a straw to minimize damage.
Vinegar is a cooking staple, and has gained popularity as a low-fat way to add flavor to food. Though it’s indispensible in the kitchen, vinegar’s high acidity is bad news for tooth enamel. You don’t have to avoid it completely, however; try rinsing your mouth out after eating vinegar-intensive foods to reduce the negative effects.
5. Red Wine
Red Wine is another food that, in moderation, can be excellent for your overall health. Unfortunately, it’s not so great for your smile. While red wine is not necessarily bad for the health of your teeth, its staining capacity can have major consequences for the brightness of your smile. Don’t cut wine out entirely; just make sure to rinse your mouth out afterward.
6. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is not only sugary—it contains copious amounts of those infamous enamel-eroding acids that are so detrimental to dental health. The citrus-based juices are particularly bad offenders. Fruit juice can be good for you though, so if you do choose to consume it, drink it through a straw or rinse your mouth out afterward. Also, calcium enriched varieties seem to offer some tooth protection.
If you’re interested in keeping teeth healthy, you’re a great candidate for the dental field. Dental assistant training is expected to grow much faster than the rest of the job market in coming years, and offers an exciting, people-oriented job environment.