Avoid these Fall Foods to Protect Your Teeth
With autumn in full swing, your seasonal cravings are being put to the test. Unfortunately, some of your favorite fall foods could actually be terrible for your teeth. It’s not just the obvious suspects you have to worry about, either. Apart from Halloween candy, try to avoid the following foods. Don’t forget to schedule your regular cleanings at Ellicott Mills Dental, too!
Pumpkin Spice Everything
People go crazy for pumpkin spice—long before fall even begins. You’ve probably seen it dozens of times over the last few weeks, popping up in baked goods, breakfast foods, and even Spam. Still, it’s most commonly found in coffee now that temperatures are cooling down.
If you start your day with a cup of coffee, then you need to take extra steps to protect your teeth. This classic beverage promotes the growth of bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth discoloration and even erosion. The more add-ons you involve—like pumpkin spice—the higher your risk for coffee stains and brittle teeth. Did we mention it contributes to bad breath?
While you may not be able to cut out coffee completely, you should try to avoid the pumpkin spice flavor(s). All the excess sugar inside is a dentist’s worst nightmare! Go for black coffee instead to minimize your risk of dental complications. Then, make sure you rinse your mouth out with water when you’re done and plan to brush your teeth about 30 minutes after finishing a cup. Don’t linger too long over coffee because the longer you wait to clean off the residue, the more bacteria you allow to grow.
An Apple a Day
Keeps the doctor (or dentist) away—right? That’s not actually the case. Apples may be fruit, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically good for you and your teeth. Apart from carrots, uncooked apples are among the hardest foods you can eat. Which is why people with cracked, chipped, or otherwise weakened teeth should avoid crunching down on this fresh fruit. No matter how much their flavor reminds you of fall! Be especially careful about caramel- and/or toffee-coated varieties that have the potential to damage even perfectly healthy teeth.
Why You Should Wait 30 to brush your teeth
Did you know that apples are extremely acidic, too? One study suggests that they might contain more acid than certain sodas. So, you should follow the same advice we gave about coffee to counteract the negative effects. Drink plenty of water while you snack on this fall fruit. Did you know, if you brush right after you’ve eaten apples, you’ll just rub the acid/sugar all around, inadvertently damaging your tooth enamel in the process. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after eating them to brush your teeth (or go swimming.)
Hard Candies & Sweets
With Halloween candy still sitting around the house, it is like nails on a chalkboard to us dentists.
All of the sugar inside hard candies—and even cough drops—creates an obvious problem for you and your dentist. Especially if you eat too many in a row, you’re encouraging bad bacteria to grow inside your mouth. Causing bad breath, tooth decay, and yellow-looking teeth. We know, we all like our sweets too. We take the position of moderation – if you eat a lot of sweets, don’t forget to wash them down with some water and hopefully brush your teeth afterward (that’s our official stance)
Did you know Cough Drops are full of sugar?
With cold and flu season right around the corner, keep an eye on the cough drops you’re using. Many cough drops are loaded with sugar, which can be just as bad for your teeth as the Halloween sweets.
If you suffer from a fall cold, there are plenty of natural cough remedies available today. Try honey tea, fresh ginger, and even thyme to fight this common symptom—without risking your teeth in the process. These might become the new flavors of fall in your home!
Hopefully, we didn’t ruin too many of your favorites. As a family dentistry, we just want to take care of our patients with some basic preventative measures. If you indulge in these fall foods every once in a while, take the recommended precautions to limit unsightly stains and other dental damage. Make sure you schedule your next cleaning, too! A professional cleaning at Ellicott Mills Dental can help to remove early signs of stains and detect more serious issues. From tooth decay from fragile enamel. Otherwise, enjoy your autumn!