Trying to stay healthy in your food and drink choices can be confusing. January is the month more people eat healthier so your friendly Bryn Mawr Dentist has a little food for thought. To add to the confusion, some things that are good for other parts of your body can be bad for your teeth and gums. So let’s review Dillon Family Dentistry’s list of Nine Vices You Love That Are Bad For Your Teeth!

1) Cough drops

OK, I feel obligated to put this on here. I had a very old patient years ago that took meticulous care of his teeth his entire life. When he turned 90 he was still singing in choir and had a tickle in throat for a couple months that was successfully mitigated by using cough drops. Unfortunately he lost a few teeth as the sugar soaked on his teeth near them. They are candy. Look for items with Xylitol if you can find them.

2) Fruit – it’s good and bad.

Sure – fruits are delicious, refreshing, and healthy. But the acid in citrus can damage your teeth as well. So don’t push them aside; just make sure to brush and drink plenty of water when lemons, limes, grapefruits, or other acid-bearing fruits are involved! Also, grazing on fruit can be a recipe for dental problems as it allows the acids more time to contact the tooth and break it down.

3) Coffee and tea – hot hot hot!

Coffee and tea have become favorites these days, and for good reason! And in their plain form (and not consumed excessively) there should not be any problems. But many people add sugar, which as we all know is the best friend of tooth decay. Also, these drinks can stain your teeth, so be sure to limit their intake and brush well!!

4) Dried fruits – a sticky situation.

Even though they seem healthy, dried fruits, which are often found in trial mix, are sticky and loaded with sugar. We can consider them candy with vitamins. Fruit strips are the same devil.

5) Potato chips – it’s crunch time.

Many of us love crunchy snacks like chips and pretzels. But they are filled with starch, which turns into sugar as these snacks stay lodged in between your teeth. Pretty much any food that linger turn into sugars and acids that will destroy your teeth given enough time. Brush, floss, repeat.

6) Soda – so bad.

Soda is sweet and fizzy and fun, but unfortunately there is just nothing else good to say about it. The sugar, the acid level, the sticky syrup, the fake stuff inside – just drop it. And please don’t think that switching to “diet” is any better – the artificial sweeteners fool your body into hunger. This one’s easy. Soda, no. Water, yes. You will save some money too!!

7) Sports drinks – not so fast.

Sports drinks and energy drinks may seem healthy, especially when you see highly trained athletes chugging them on the sidelines. But in most cases they are unnecessary, and they are loaded with sugar. Just like with sodas – drink water instead!

8) Ice – chill out, don’t chew!

As much as it may give you pleasure to chew it ice might get the better of you. Healthy enamel is much stronger than the hardest ice, but still biting into it at certain angles can cause you to break off part of the tooth.

9) Alcohol – what could go wrong?

We know that many of you like to enjoy the occasional beer, wine, or mixed drink. But please be cautious. Alcohol can reduce saliva flow, which leads to dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and other oral infections. Plus, heavy alcohol use can lead to oral cancer. As they say, please enjoy in moderation.

So what’s next? Are we allowed to eat or drink anything good? Of course. But the lesson is, know what you are consuming, be aware of the possible dangers, and be sure to brush and floss on a regular basis.

Questions? Comments? Due for a checkup or cleaning? At Dillon Family Dentistry we are here for you! Please give us a call at 610-525-5497. And remember, we will always make room for your friends and family!