Have you ever chomped down on a crisp potato chip only to have it get painfully wedged between your teeth? Not all hard foods are bad for teeth, but some crunch foods can really wreak havoc on your dental health and should be eaten in moderation. Here’s a look at some common crunchy foods that you should avoid — and some that you can enjoy as well.
Crunchy foods to avoid
Snack foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to damaging teeth and gums. Crisp chips, hard pretzels and crunchy popcorn kernels can get wedged between teeth, causing pain and encouraging bacteria buildup that leads to cavities and decay.
Hard candies can also be extremely destructive to your enamel. Mints, lollipops and even throat lozenges linger in the mouth for long periods of time compared to other snacks and sweet treats. As hard candies slowly dissolve in the mouth, your teeth are constantly exposed to sugar, which puts you at risk for decay and gum disease. Cracked and chipped teeth are other common dental emergencies associated with eating hard candies.
Even ice can cause problems with your teeth. While it is made up of only water and is sugar-free, chewing on hard ice cubes or ice chips can damage your enamel, loosen crowns and fracture teeth. To prevent a painful tooth and emergency dental work, skip snacking on ice chips — and enjoy an iced beverage instead.
Crunchy foods to enjoy
The good news is that not all crunchy foods must be eliminated from your diet. In fact, many firm foods — such as apples, carrots, cucumbers, pears and celery — can actually promote good dental health. Healthy raw fruits and vegetables that have high water content and require a lot of chewing are good for oral health because they stimulate the flow of saliva, a natural defender against the bacteria that causes cavities. The abrasive texture of these foods can cleanse tooth surfaces as you chew to gently dislodge food buildup and plaque.
In addition to being a natural toothbrush, crunchy fruits and vegetables are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals for supporting strong teeth and overall good total body health.
Next time you buy a pack of lollipops or pretzel rods at the grocery store, consider the impact they could have on your teeth. By making healthy and safe food choices now, you can save yourself from unnecessary dental treatment and pain down the road while fostering good eating habits for your teeth and gums.
If you are ever faced with an injured tooth, our dentists at Natomas Crossing Dental Care are well trained in restorative dentistry treatments such as dental crowns
to help you preserve or reclaim your beautiful, healthy teeth.