Most of us know that sugary candy and soda are not beneficial for your dental health. But what may surprise you is some common – even healthy – foods can contribute to tooth erosion, damage, and jaw problems. The good news is, you don’t have to avoid these foods completely if you know how to take care of your mouth after eating them.
Although it seems like dried fruit would be a healthy, convenient snack, this is not always the case. Many varieties of dried fruit have sugar added, which can be as detrimental to the teeth as candy. Because they tend to be chewy, this can cause pain and inflammation for people who are dealing with jaw problems like TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). In addition, the chewy texture lends itself to getting stuck in the teeth, so those sugars can hang around in your mouth for hours. If you have jaw pain, you may need to avoid chewy foods like dried fruit, or save them for occasional treats.
Sports and Energy Drinks
Many people mistakenly believe that these are better for your teeth than soda, but they can be just as harmful. Most are laden with sugar and acid, which can break down enamel and weaken teeth. Damage to the enamel is permanent and cannot be repaired. If you do have an energy or sports drink, wash it down with a glass of water.
Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Nearly everyone could benefit from a diet that includes more fresh, nutritious produce. But eating raw carrots, apples, and similar crunchy foods can put a strain on a sore jaw. If you have TMD or jaw pain, you may want to consume cooked vegetables and fruits. Many people also enjoy making smoothies out of fresh produce. These can be healthy and delicious, and are easy on the jaw.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits can be healthy choices, but the acid can wear down enamel if you eat them frequently. And coffee, America’s drink of choice, is also high in acid. To help minimize damage, wait 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods and drinks before brushing your teeth. This gives your mouth more time to neutralize the acid before you brush.
Crackers and Other Processed Foods
The high carbohydrate content of crackers and similar snacks converts to sugar in the mouth. It also tends to soften and stick to the teeth and gum line, which can leave those sugars in contact with your teeth for prolonged periods. If you do eat a starchy food like crackers, brush your teeth afterward. If you can’t do that, at least swish some water around in your mouth to dislodge some of the food from your mouth.
Take Care of Your Dental Health
The health of your teeth and jaw plays an important role in your overall well-being. Take care to avoid or limit foods that can damage your mouth, and see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
MedCenter TMJ cares about your dental health needs. If you’re experiencing jaw pain or symptoms of TMD, call us at 713-790-0531 or schedule an appointment online!