PerioDental Focus: Foods That Damage Your Teeth and Gums
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash
Before your body can absorb food, it has to pass through your mouth. Your mouth is the initial place where all the components of your food gets filtered and enters your body; But your teeth and gums, and ultimately your smile, can bear the brunt of what types of food you eat. Here are some major culprits:
- Balsamic Vinegar: It’s high in acidity and breaks down the enamel of your teeth, making them weaker over time. Aside from the erosion, balsamic vinegar also stains your teeth.
- Berries: Overall, berries are great for your health and contain antioxidants – but the darker the berry, the deeper the stain. Blueberries, blackberries and cherries can all leave stains on your teeth over time.
- Citrus: According to the American Dental Association, acidic foods like citrus fruits can erode enamel, leaving teeth susceptible to decay over time.
- Coffee: This is probably one of the most obvious, but coffee can definitely cause damage to your teeth over time. On average, Americans consume millions of cups of coffee every year. Stains and erosion are at the top of the list of tooth problems caused by coffee.
- Candies: Another no brainer, sweets and candy are no good for your teeth long term. Cavities, decay, tarter build-up and other candies weaken teeth over time.
- Juice and sports drinks: Drinks that contain added sugar are no good for your teeth. Sports drinks, sodas and artificial fruit juices break down enamel and weaken your teeth’s ability to fight off cavities.
- Ketchup: This popular condiment contains sugar and acid, both of which can harm your teeth. Most supermarket brand ketchups contain many tea spoons of sugar, and ketchup is another one of those dark colored foods that can easily stain teeth.
- Sauces: Deep colored sauces like soy sauce, teriyaki, Worchester, and even tomato sauce have serious staining potential to teeth.
- Wine: It’s a known fact that wine is highly acidic. To make matters worse, it’s one of those foods that dissolves enamel on teeth at a microscopic level. White wine etches tiny grooves into your teeth, allowing stains to penetrate deeper. The tannins in red wine have been known to bind to teeth over time.
PerioDental Focus By: Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
Today everyone wants to have a perfect smile with white, even teeth. But this means nothing if you have poor dental hygiene and unhealthy gums. Indeed, proper brushing and flossing could save your life! It may sound incredible, but gum disease (periodontal disease) is linked to many life-threatening illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke,diabetes and pneumonia. It has also been associated with pregnancy complications. Up to 80% of the adult population have early signs of gum disease, and may be unaware of it, as it first develops without symptoms. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology reports that at least 23% of women, ages 30 to 54, have an advanced state of periodontal disease (periodontitis) in which there is active destruction of the tissues supporting their teeth.The same study states that 44% of women, ages 55 to 90, who still have their teeth also have periodontitis. It has been found that men with antibodies to dental bacteria were 50% more likely to have heart disease than men without these antibodies.
What is periodontal disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease occurs when bacteria in the plaque that forms on your teeth infect the gums and even the bone that anchors your teeth. In the earlier, milder and easily treatable stage called gingivitis, the gums become red and bleed easily, and may become slightly swollen. The latter stage that requires intervention by a periodontist is called periodontitis, in which the infection causes bone loss and tooth loss and can even affect your general health.
What are some signs of gum disease?
- Bleeding gums during brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Loose or separating teeth
How does it develop?
Plaque-loving bacteria that normally grow in your mouth become present in such a large quantity that they invade the gums and tissues near the teeth causing infection. The bacteria produce acids and toxins that destroy the fibers that attach the gum around your teeth. As this happens the gums pull away, developing pockets where bacteria thrive and start to dissolve the bone that supports your teeth. Discoloration of the teeth, puffy, inflamed, and painful gums, loss of tooth enamel and bad breath might greet you in the mirror every morning.
Is it really connected to serious illnesses?
Yes, the pockets of bacteria release toxins through blood vessels into the blood stream. This is why gum disease disconnected to clogging of the arteries that supply the head with blood and oxygen (the carotid arteries). The toxins that escape can raise the level of an inflammatory component known as C-reactive protein, or CRP. CRP is strongly linked to hardening of the arteries, cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. There is also evidence that periodontal disease and its resultant inflammation contributes strongly to the cardiovascular disease seen in diabetics. And it’s been found that inhaling the toxic bacteria that colonize the mouth can also lead to pneumonia.
How do I prevent gum disease?
Brush your teeth after every meal, and floss regularly, at least once a day, to help remove food particles or plaque build-up between the teeth. Flossing also conditions your gums. Massage gums daily with a rubber-tipped stimulator to increase blood flow to the area and help promote healing. Visit your dentist regularly for a wellness check. Good nutrition is helpful in maintaining gum health and fighting the bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities. Be sure you get an adequate supply of vitamin C with bioflavonoids, zinc, beta-carotene, folic acid and CoQ10.
Additionally, herbs and nutrients can be applied directly to the gums to help maintain and restore gum health. Only use oral health products that offer immune and tissue support to improve the health and strength of the gums, mucosa, teeth and oral cavities. Be sure they are free of Alcohol, Sugar, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Benzoate and Parabens!