With a health food industry that has ballooned to 28.4 billion dollars, it’s no wonder fad diets have become so prominent in the United States. From mushroom tea said to promote focus, to fermented milk that’s supposedly good for your gut, wacky food claims are all around us and it’s becoming more difficult to sort fact from fiction.
Worse, some of these foods may be more damaging than helpful, especially for our mouths. Here are four “healthy” foods that are actually hurting your teeth.
From “cleanse” diets to meal replacements, fruit and vegetable juices have been flooding the market. Combined with mounting evidence that diets like this are more harmful than helpful, most fruit and vegetable juices are not good for your teeth. Many products, though claiming to a “healthy” meal replacement, can have up to 36g of sugar in as little as 8 oz of liquid. One of the worst substances for your teeth, sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth that leads to cavities and gum disease.
Part of the “Master Cleanse” diet, lemon water with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper is said to detoxify your liver and spark the metabolism. Although this may be a popular trend, it is undoubtedly bad for your teeth. Acidic fruit such as lemons, limes, or grapefruits can weaken enamel increasing your chances of cavities, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease.
It’s true that many studies have concluded that nutrients like resveratrol, found in red wine, are good for your heart, but maybe not for your teeth. Being an alcohol, red wine dries your mouth, allowing oral bacteria to flourish. Much like lemon water, red wine’s acidity can soften enamel, leach calcium from our teeth, and weaken their structure. Plus, the dark color of red wine can lead to staining.
Not only is coffee full of antioxidants, but studies have shown that those who drink coffee regularly can live longer. Just like red wine, however, coffee can increase the risk of tooth damage by drying out your mouth. It also contains an ingredient called tannins, which is a type of polyphenol that breaks down in water, and can cause color compounds to more readily stick to our teeth. And if you consume coffee drinks from popular chains, they may have more than 20 teaspoons of sugar in each cup!
Even if something is healthy for our body, it isn’t necessarily healthy for our mouths. The best way to maintain good oral health is to brush and floss regularly, and to visit a dentist at least every six months.