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Recognize the dental dangers of healthy foods
Updated: 11/11/2013 5:29:53 PM
 

Recognize the dental dangers of healthy foods

With Halloween long past, it is time that families turn their attention away from the damaging effects of candy and instead focus on some more deceptive foods. It just so happens that a number of healthy foods can cause erosion and tooth decay and while they shouldn't be excluded from a diet, families should take the necessary steps to limit the damage.

Citrus a-go-go
Sharp and sugary citrus fruits have long been touted as an arch-nemesis of enamel. The high concentrations of natural sugar and corrosive acids wear down teeth. Among the culprits are oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit, according to Women's Health Magazine. These fruits in juice form are even worse, as more concentrated sugars make for an acid bath in your mouth. Swishing these drinks only intensifies their adverse effects, according to John Moore, D.D.S.

Dried out
Perhaps less well-known is the problem of dried fruit. The healthy snack may seem less damaging than sweets, but in fact, the dehydration process actually concentrates sugars, while their gummy consistency can get stuck to teeth much in the same way that some candies do. According to Moore, dried fruits can be worse than candy, as the fruit also contains non-soluble cellulose fiber, which traps sugars against teeth.

Sugary starches
Pasta can be a great and filling part of a diet, but the starch has a nasty habit of breaking down into sugars even while still in the mouth. That goes for other carbs, such as white bread, chips and French fries as well. They are also prone to getting stuck in between teeth, where the sugar breakdown becomes a serious problem.

Don't stop eating
The damaging effects of these foods don't mean they should be cut out of a diet. Rather, healthy eaters should be smart about how and when they brush after eating these foods. Generally, it's a good idea to brush immediately after eating every meal. With acidic foods, however, a post-meal brush can actually be damaging. Moore recommended that patients rinse their mouth with water in order to wash away damaging acids and brushing at least 30 minutes afterward. Exposure to acids will make enamel more vulnerable, and waiting allows saliva to revitalize minerals. Otherwise, brushing could worsen the damage.

Should teeth sustain some damage, it is always a good idea for patients without dental insurance to consider a dental plan, which assists in the payment for basic teeth cleaning procedures.

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