We all know of many snacks to avoid for the health of our teeth. We all know about the dangers of sugar, whether it be candy or full-sugar soda. Things that are generally unhealthy, it turns out, aren’t any better for your teeth than the rest of you. But a lot of healthy snacks that are surprisingly bad for your teeth.
So while these snacks might be good for your body, keep in mind what they’re doing to your teeth.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are some of the healthiest out there. They’re packed with vitamin C and are a great part of a well-rounded diet.
But be careful. Citrus fruit is high in acid, which gives them that trademark sting. Prolonged or frequent exposure to these acids will wear down the enamel on your teeth. This makes them sensitive and more prone to infection.
Keep the citrus fruit to a minimum. If you like to have a slice of lemon or lime with a drink, maybe hold back on biting into it — just enjoy the flavor.
Fruit juice contains a one-two punch that makes it a terrible idea for your dental health: high acidity, and lots of sugar.
There are many who argue that the sugar in fruit is “good” sugar and so preferable to, say, drinking a bottle of Coke. But the bacteria in your mouth don’t care, and will gladly eat the sugar from the fruit juice just as enthusiastically as the artificial stuff. The end result is the same: bacteria feed and grow, and begin to rot your teeth.
Drinking fruit juice through a straw will help minimize the contact between your teeth and the acids and sugars. Brushing your teeth also helps, but you’ll need to wait at least half an hour after drinking. If you don’t, you’ll remove some of the acid-affected enamel, doing even more damage.
Taking a break away from fruit for a second (we’ll get back to it!), we get a perennial favorite: peanut butter.
Peanut butter often contains quite a bit of sugar. This in itself is bad enough, but the real problem with peanut butter is its stickiness. The longer your teeth are in contact with sugary foods, the more in danger they are. Peanut butter sticks around for a long time, allowing bacteria to feed off it.
Popcorn is a fairly low-calorie snack, and generally considered a great healthy snack option. If you’ve ever eaten popcorn, however, you can probably guess where we’re going with this: popcorn husks.
Those pesky popcorn husks that get stuck in your teeth and gums cause two problems; direct irritation of the gums, and being food sources for bacteria in the mouth.
And we’ll end where we started: fruit.
Dried fruit is a popular portable snack. It’s also sticky and packed with sugar — a terrible combination, we hope you’ve come to learn. While it’s certainly better than eating candy, it’s still sugary, and it’ll still stick to your teeth. Keep it in moderation and be thorough cleaning your teeth afterwards.