With so many healthy dietary choices out there, most Americans have no reason to eat junk food if they can help it. But just because a food is good for you doesn’t mean it’s a good choice to eat before your dental or orthodontic appointment. If you’re wondering what to avoid before you hit the dental chair, check out this list of the top five offenders, and what makes them such a bad mix with your exam.
From a fresh ripe mandarin to a tall glass of orange juice, grapefruit juice or lemonade, citrus foods and drinks should be avoided before you head to the dentist or orthodontist. Why? Well, for starters most people agree the taste of citrus and toothpaste don’t really mix well. But beyond that, the high level of acid found in citrus fruits can actually weaken tooth enamel. Normally, it takes about 30 minutes for your enamel to re-harden, but if you chug some OJ right before you head to your early-morning appointment, your teeth won’t have time to recover before your hygienist starts scraping away at your enamel. This can cause permanent enamel damage - something you definitely don’t want.
While it’s widely debated whether garlic is actually a vegetable, this powerfully pungent little plant can add a kick of flavor to everything from marinara to naan. But it's also really difficult to get that telltale aroma from your breath. Even after brushing several times, it can still sometimes be hard to shake the garlic from your breath. While garlic is healthy and delicious, you may want to leave the cloves alone (and while you’re at it, hold the onions!) before your dental appointment. We always love hearing about a delicious meal, but we don’t really want to smell it on your breath!
With so many people going low-carb or Paleo, beef jerky is becoming popular again. While this dried meat product is relatively healthy and can pack a much-needed protein punch, it’s not the best choice to eat before a dentist or orthodontist appointment. Why? Due to the sinewy nature of jerky, it naturally gets caught in a lot of awkward places - between teeth, between braces wires ... you get the idea. Unless you have time to floss really well before your appointment, save the jerky until after your appointment.
Popcorn can be a very healthy snack if you don’t drown it in butter and oil. But it can also be a nightmare to get out of your teeth, thanks to those annoying little hulls. If you’re heading to the doctor or dentist, hold off on the popcorn until after your appointment. It will make cleaning your teeth a lot easier, and it will probably spare your hygienist a good scare when the translucent shell comes off in one large piece on the dental pick!
Bubbly sodas and sparkling waters are delicious and refreshing, but they’re not great for your teeth. They often contain high levels of acid that, like citrus, are dangerous to your tooth enamel. Beyond that, they also sometimes cause an embarrassing problem that you probably want to avoid with someone looking in your mouth: burping. Yup, we know you can’t help it, but if the carbonation from your drink causes you to burp a lot, you may want to consider holding off on drinking it until after you’ve left your exam. No embarrassing story for you to tell, and no need for your dentist or hygienist to find out the hard way what flavor of soda you prefer.
Ready to make an appointment for your next exam? Put down those onion rings and give Dr. Lederman’s office a call at 516-882-1764.