Dental decay is on the rise in the U.S., yet more and more people are without an affordable dental plan. Affordable dental insurance seems almost non-existent, and yet, because of the food we eat, we need to have access to the best care possible. If you need affordable dental care now, your best option is to purchase a discount dental plan. Discount plans make affordable dental care available immediately and help you get to a great dentist. However, if you want to prevent going to the dentist, there are some foods you should limit or avoid altogether to protect your teeth.
Foods to Avoid to Protect Your Teeth
As far as teeth are concerned, sodas are public enemy number one. Imagine a gang of factors attacking your tooth enamel. The main decay causing factors from soda are the acid content, phosphorus content, caffeine and sugar. Some sodas have as much acid in them as battery acid and drinking sodas over a long period of time slowly breaks down the enamel on your teeth. The phosphoric acid and caffeine in soda are also a culprit to tooth breakdown from soda. Although phosphorus is a necessary element in your bones, too much phosphorus can lead to bone loss, and caffeine limits calcium absorption in your teeth. Finally, the sugar in sodas attaches to bacteria and makes it stick to the surface of your enamel, which can cause serious damage to the teeth. Limiting or eliminating sodas from your diet is good for you overall, but especially good for your bones and teeth. Another tip to help your teeth is to drink your soda through a straw to keep the harmful elements of soda off your teeth.
High acid fruits, like lemons, also lend to the break down of enamel on teeth. A little lemon juice here and there won’t seriously affect your teeth, but, similar to sodas, a large amount of lemon consumption will damage your enamel over time and cause decay. Therefore, if you have a habit of sucking on lemons, oranges or grapefruits, you’ll want to be aware that your habit will, over time, cause the attrition of your tooth enamel.
Different studies show different results regarding sports drinks and tooth decay. The main factor is when and how much you drink. The acidity and sugar in sports drinks are similar to soda in their affect on the teeth. However, the amount of saliva produced when you drink a Gatorade or Powerade will greatly alter the affect the drink has on your teeth. If you’re sipping a sports drink at your desk or during a bike ride, your teeth will feel the greater affects of decay. However, if you have a sports drink with your meal, you will reduce the amount of decay returned because the chewing of food increases your saliva flow, which reduces decay experienced from acidic/sugary sports drinks.
Gummy, sticky, refined sugars, especially in candy, can cause a great deal of tooth decay because the acidity produced in the mouth and the way that sugar sticks to teeth. The bacteria already in your mouth use sugar as a a form of energy to grow and glue themselves to your teeth. This growing/gluing affect makes it more difficult for the bacteria to be washed away by saliva and brushing. Reducing sugar is a great way to prevent tooth decay – hands down!
White wine especially, has a high acid content and wears away at tooth enamel similar to fruit juice. Although red wines are more apt to leave your teeth stained the wearing affect of the enamel is less (however it is not non-existent!). Prolonged exposure of teeth to wine (because wine is typically sipped), decreases the ph balance in the mouth and allows bacteria to have a favorable environment to grow. If you’re going to drink wine, make sure you eat at the same time and eat foods rich in calcium like cheese to help counter the affects of the acid.
As mentioned before, avoiding or eliminating these foods and drinks from your diet will be the best way to prevent your need to see a dentist. However, if you’ve already experienced a fair amount of decay, go ahead and purchase an affordable dental plan. Affordable dental care is an absolute necessity when you’ve made a habit of consuming damaging foods and drinks. Affordable dental plans help you get to the dentist now to catch problems early and they also help you deal with pre-existing conditions (something dental insurance will not be able to help you with).