We all consume foods and drinks, so something we all should be aware of is just how safe these are to consume for the sake of our oral health.
Please note before reading that the foods and drinks listed below don’t have to be completely avoided. However, in excess, they can cause harm for the teeth compared to healthier options such as fresh veggies and water.
Chewy, sticky foods and candies
Surely you can imagine that chewy or sticky foods such as candies and caramels, if sticky enough, can easily become lodged between the teeth. Because these contain sugar, this makes for a great meal for the oral bacteria living in your mouth.
Both ice and your teeth are made up of a crystalline structure. Because of this, when the two are pressed together, one of the two will break — either the ice cube or your teeth. If your tooth is the one that breaks, that’s the unfortunate part. Luckily, you can chew on smaller, finer pieces of ice such as shaved ice to decrease the chances of this happening.
Citrus is, you guessed it, quite acidic. In fact, most of us know that acids aren’t the best for our teeth as they can deteriorate the tooth’s enamel layer. For this reason, citrus should not be eaten in excess. Additionally, citrus should not be allowed to sit directly on the teeth.
After eating or drinking anything acidic, wait for 30 to 60 minutes before brushing the teeth. Otherwise, the toothbrush will rub the acid harder into the teeth causing more harm.
Crunchy foods such as chips
Crunchy foods are also harmful to your oral health since they can become easily trapped within the teeth. Especially when consuming starchy foods such as potato chips, these are difficult to get out from between the teeth as they sit. Eating these require extra flossing for sure.
No, the sugar added to many sports drinks isn’t what truly makes them harmful. Rather it’s the acidic components of the drink which can easily erode the tooth enamel if often consumed.
Always wait 30 to 60 minutes before brushing after drinking acidic beverages such as sports drinks. Also, try looking for sports drinks with little to no added sugar to also aid the problem, or find other means of replenishing your lost electrolytes.
Soda & juice
Both soda and juice contain sugar. Soda is sugary and quite acidic and can erode the enamel over time. Juice in particular almost always has added sugars, so perhaps try finding a sugar-free version of the beverage.
Coffee is strong, dark, and has the capability of permanently staining the teeth. The acidic component of coffee only adds to the damage of your pearly whites. Also, because coffee is so strong, many additions such as sugar, creamers, and others are added to coffee to better the flavor, things of which are also harmful to the teeth. Either limit consumption, limit added sugar, and/or drink water after consumption of coffee.
Alcohol is very drying. A dry mouth can lead to saliva production problems, which in turn, makes it harder for the mouth to fight cavity-causing oral bacteria. As well as this, alcohol can increase the risk of oral cancers and infections if consumed often.
Is Munching Ice Cubes Bad?
Many like to chew or suck on ice cubes. In fact, some even crave ice. But unfortunately, this habit can be harmful to one’s oral health. If ice cubes are hurting your teeth, you could have:
Whether one already has tooth sensitivity or develops such due to consistent chewing or sucking on ice, tooth sensitivity can be quite painful.
Cold or hot temperatures can undoubtedly cause discomfort for those with tooth sensitivity. However, dealing with tooth sensitivity is most common in those already dealing with such from enamel deterioration.
Nevertheless, chewing on ice, as it’s a frozen substance, can overtime chip away at tooth enamel. In turn, this can create a sensitivity one may never had beforehand.
Those with a weaker bone structure may exhibit pain from chewing on ice cubes. Additionally chewing ice can also bring on fragile teeth due to the pressure one must place when chewing the hard substance.
For this reason, it is safer to either avoid ice altogether or to chew on ice that is softer and fine such as nugget or “snow cone style” ice. Large ice cubes as expected, however, are the absolute worst for your teeth.
Braces and other orthodontic appliances do not do well with the chewing or sucking ice habit. As your teeth shift from braces or other devices, this places pressure on the teeth. For many braces wearers, pain and discomfort are not uncommon. Unfortunately, additional pain may arise with chewing on ice.
Additionally, because braces are made of metal, ice significantly cools down the braces, and thus the teeth. This alone can cause discomfort in the person chewing or sucking on the ice.
Ice, in general, is not advised for those wearing braces as the pressure of chewing alone can cause the teeth or orthodontic appliance to break. As a result, this can make treatment more of a hassle as one has to set up an emergency orthodontic visit for repair. This ends up costing a patient more money and possibly leading to longer treatment time depending on the severity of the breakage when the patient can get the restoration completed.
Trauma to oral tissue
With the sharpness of ice, it is not uncommon for ice chewers to develop trauma to their oral tissue, causing pain. Those already suffering from oral tissue trauma may deal with further pain or damage when chewing on ice.
Again, a good solution to this would be to opt for softer, finer forms of ice. Better yet, reduce or completely eliminate the act of chewing or sucking on ice altogether.
In conclusion, ice chewers or suckers can have a variety of oral health problems at hand due to their habit. Those already dealing with oral health issues or those with orthodontic appliances, however, may deal with further discomfort from chewing or sucking ice.
That said, it is best to be careful when sucking or chewing on ice. But preferably, reducing or strictly prohibiting this habit completely is safest.