Hard Candies and Other Foods That Can Damage Teeth
What makes us feel good and acts as fuel for the body? Food! You have to eat to keep your strength up and protect your body from diseases. Not everything you eat, though, is good for your teeth. And some foods even have the potential to crack or chip your teeth. Let’s take a look at some of the foods your teeth may thank you for going without…at least once in a while.
1. Hard Candy
Hard candy is one of the more obvious foods that can crack or chip your teeth. Sour balls, lollipops, sugar wafers, and candy sticks are just a few common treats you may indulge in when the sweet tooth comes a-knocking. However, biting down on such sweet treats before they naturally dissolve in your mouth can have a detrimental impact on your smile. Try and hold the candy in your mouth a little longer so you can savor its sweetness and protect your teeth, too.
2. Popcorn Kernels
When it comes to popcorn, what’s bad for your teeth isn’t the soft, fluffy, popped kernels; its their unpopped counterpart. The latter variety aren’t usually noticeable among the bigger pieces, but if you unknowingly bite hard on one, you’ll notice the difference between the two almost instantly.
Unpopped kernels are often quite hard and can potentially chip or crack teeth and may even damage a filling. So before digging in, give your bucket a good shake so the unpopped kernels can settle down at the bottom to reduce the chances of cutting movie night short in favor of the dentist.
3. Hard Bread
Your enamel may be the hardest substance in the human body, but pit it against hard breads like biscotti and baguettes and it may come out worse for wear. It’s not unheard of for patients to walk into our practice with a cracked or chipped tooth because of snacking on a pretzel or having beans on toast for lunch. So when you’re munching on your favorite dish with hard bread, you may need to take a few precautions to protect your teeth from damage.
Dipping the bread in butter, olive oil, coffee, or soup may help soften the bread so it’s easier to bite into and chew, and is less of a concern. Hard breads straight out of the oven are also normally a little softer than their cooled counterparts.
4. Protein Bars
While its list of ingredients makes it seem like protein bars are the perfect snack for a healthy lifestyle, they’re usually hard and can stick to your teeth long after you’ve eaten them. More importantly, protein bars are often full of nuts, dried fruits, and granola—all things that can crack or chip your teeth if you happen to bite the wrong way.
So choose your protein bars carefully and remember to chew carefully if you’ve chosen a bar with more than a little crunch.
5. Olives With Pits
In the same way biting down on an unpopped popcorn kernel isn’t good for your teeth, so is chewing on an olive with pits. It puts you at a higher risk of cracking, chipping, or even breaking your tooth.
Best option is to buy pitted olives, though it’s true a pit or two may still accidentally get into the jar during the manufacturing process. If you do bite down hard on a pitted olive and start experiencing tooth sensitivity, contact your dentist right away. You may have fractured a tooth that you should get checked out.
6. Ice Cubes
There are only a few mixed drinks that don’t require ice in one form or another, and for some people, there’s almost an irresistible temptation to chew on those ice cubes. However, biting on ice cubes may cause your teeth to develop microscopic hairline cracks. If the habit persists, the cracks will only get bigger over time, and you’ll experience tooth sensitivity, particularly when consuming hot or cold food and drinks.
Next time you have a drink, avoid chewing your ice cubes and just suck on them until they completely melt in your mouth.
Regain your confident smile.
It is important that we point out that most of the foods on our list are less likely to chip your enamel if your tooth is healthy. With a combination of good at-home oral hygiene and at least two annual visits to the dentist, you can improve your chances of maintaining good oral health and protect your teeth from damage. Also, be aware of any teeth grinding or clenching habits, since that weakens otherwise healthy teeth.
But if you do find yourself with an unexpected cracked tooth, book your appointment online with our Boise, Idaho, office. Dr. Staley and his team are experts at providing restorative treatments, and we will always recommend what we believe to be the most comfortable and least invasive option. Allow us to help you regain your confident smile today!