“You are what you eat.”
Can you even count all the times you’ve encountered this saying? And yet, eating unhealthy foods is a habit of millions, bringing health issues such as obesity, diabetes type 2, and heart disease to the forefront. In the USA alone, nearly 37% of people consume fast food regularly.
It comes to no surprise that whatever we put in our mouths, heavily affects our teeth as well. This prompted us to explore the awareness of people on the topic “Food & Teeth” via a global survey with 412 respondents to date.
See the results to find out what people think about matters like:
- Can bread and pasta harm your teeth?
- Is diet soda better than sugary drinks?
- Does lemon juice/ water improve oral health?
#1: Fruit juices/ smoothies are healthy choices for teeth: MYTH
The majority of respondents (66%) do believe that fruit juices and smoothies are healthy choices for maintaining good oral health.
The reality? Although generally healthier than candies, chocolate, ice cream, and similar, fruit juices and smoothies are still packed with fructose, the natural fruit sugar. When a fruit is juiced or pureed, all fibers are lost and the drink content becomes primarily sugar, not much less than an average fizzy drink. A 250 ml glass of apple juice contains 7 teaspoons of sugar – about the same as cola, experts alarm. Also, don’t forget that fruit juices can also be highly acidic which softens and dissolves the enamel.
#2: Starchy food (bread, pasta) can harm teeth: FACT
But is sugar the only food enemy to our teeth? Not at all. Starchy food can get trapped on your teeth so easily, that dental professionals still argue which is the greater evil. The largest share (46%) of survey participants, though, do not recognize starchy foods as problematic. But why are they? See below:
#3: Coffee stains teeth more than red wine: MYTH
The astonishing 70% of respondents think that drinking coffee affects teeth’s color more than consuming red wine.
In fact, both coffee and red wine contain dark pigments and have a high acid content. The combination of those two factors creates the ideal conditions for teeth staining. Thus, the effect on your teeth’s color would be comparable. To reduce the harm, make sure you rinse with water and wait at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour, before brushing your teeth. If this is not enough, consider teeth whitening.
Wait, wasn’t teeth whitening dangerous? See here some myths about it busted.
#4: Candy causes cavities: FACT
Here the crowd is unshakable: 94% of survey participants confirm that eating candies leads to tooth decay. And this is, in fact, true.
However, while sugar certainly plays a role, tooth decay doesn’t solely nor necessarily happen because you ate a lollipop. When you eat any sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth consumes it, creates acid, and this acid is what actually causes tooth decay and cavities. When on the watch out for teeth enemies, make sure you look beyond the obvious. This juicy pizza is no better than chocolate candy.
#5: Diet soda is also harmful to the teeth: FACT
Although 14% doesn’t recognize it as a threat, 73% still realize the harm a soda can do on their oral health. Be it diet or not.
Diet soda might not contain sugar, but this “lighter” alternative contains more phosphoric, citric, and tartaric acids than a regular soda. So what are the proper replacements of high-sugar snacks then? Check out some ideas below.
#6: Fiber-rich fruits and veggies help clean teeth: FACT
Fresh products rich in fiber are just as healthy for your overall well-being as they are for your oral health. And it is a good indicator that the majority of survey participants (78%) confirm this fact.
Foods with fiber help keep your teeth and gums clean, says the American Dental Association (ADA), while also getting your saliva flowing. This helps reduce the negative effects of food acids attacking your mouth. Moreover, saliva contains traces of calcium and phosphate, so it is claimed to partly restore minerals lost due to bacterial acids.
#7: Alcohol leads to pH imbalance: FACT
Two-thirds of DentaVox respondents comprehend the negative effect of alcohol on the pH (acid-base) balance.
Keep this in mind: The lower the pH of a beverage, the higher the acidity and the risk for damaging your teeth. According to research published by ECronicon, sugary drinks like Porto, wine, sherry, ciders bring pH levels down to dangerous values of 2.5-3, while the goal is to keep it above 7. Interestingly, vodka has the highest pH value – above 6.
#8: Lemon juice/ water improves oral health: MYTH
Drinking lemon juice or water in the morning is a habit of many, mainly due to its detoxifying effect and other health benefits. But does it improve oral health? The majority of survey participants (72%) believe so, while 18% are rather skeptical.
The truth is lemon juice is highly acidic which is the prerequisite for teeth erosion. Here are some ideas on how to reduce the risk:
#9: Strawberry-baking soda mixture whitens teeth: MYTH
While people who condemn in-office teeth whitening as harmful prefer natural home remedies, the University of Iowa study shows the strawberry-baking soda recipe has no effect on teeth whitening. Not to mention that baking soda is abrasive and it literally scratches your teeth enamel.
The confusion in the claimed positive properties of this popular mixture is also evident in the DentaVox survey results. Over half of the respondents claim its effectiveness while less than one-fourth are non-believers.
#10: Swishing coconut oil can fix cavities: MYTH
Survey participants seem undecided about the effectiveness of coconut oil pulling in the fight against tooth decay. The old Ayurvedic medicine claims that high-fat oils such as coconut oil can help pull out bacteria from the teeth and thus allow them to heal.
The fact: Coconut oil has numerous applications in cooking and cosmetics. Although not dangerous to try, science is certain that its effect is not magical enough to regrow damaged tooth surfaces.
Which of those myths and facts were you aware of?
Share in the comments below!
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Stats source: DentaVox, 20 Questions: Food & Teeth
Base: 432 respondents (global sample)
Period: 06/05 – 09/06/2020