Almost every week, patients come through the doors of our office seeking treatment for a dental emergency caused by an eating mishap. They were enjoying a nice meal when suddenly they bit down on something hard and cracked a tooth, lost a filling or had a dental crown fall off. From our experience, these are the top 10 foods that take bragging rights when it comes to the most damage to teeth and dental work.
What is harder, your teeth or the hard, crunchy baguette? Despite the fact that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it also is brittle. Over the years, our diets have become much softer when compared to the hunters and gatherers of the past. However, some modern day foods prove to be too much of a challenge for your chompers. Take caution, especially if your molars have larger restorations.
This low-calorie snack goes great with afternoon matinees or late-night lounging on the couch. However, it is not the best-suited snack for your teeth. First of all, the husks can get wedged between your teeth or underneath your gums causing a popcorn abscess. This is a painful infection that can spread quickly. Some dental floss and, in more severe cases, a dose of antibiotics will take care of it. The leading cause for concern with popcorn, however, is the popcorn kernels. You bite down on one and crack goes your tooth! So be careful when enjoying your popcorn; stick to the fluffy, buttery parts and avoid chewing on kernels.
Rogue olive pits are a close second to popcorn in terms of causing dental damage. Sometimes, the pit’s presence is due to improper food processing, neglect during meal preparation or the olive simply not having been pitted. People expect to bite down on something soft and find, to their dental dismay, the exact opposite. So take heed the next time you tear into your salad or fish an olive from your martini.
Though they are nutritious and delicious, eating them whole has led to a mini epidemic of almond-induced dental problems. These include chips, fractures, sensitivity and, in some cases, temporal mandibular disorders. Instead of chomping on whole almonds, go for the slivered or sliced variety, and eat them in moderation.
Ice is harder than your enamel, and you may as well chew on rocks because it would have the same effect. Back teeth with larger fillings are especially vulnerable. If you have this bad habit, it is time to break it instead of your teeth.
Though not the leading culprit in dental fracturing, these sticky treats do tend to pull out loose dental work or teeth. These sweet candies tend to wedge between teeth and dental work, pulling out the restorations while you chew. Similar sticky candies include taffy and Starburst candies.
The trend of storing candy bars in the freezer for a nice, cold treat is proving to be particularly treacherous for teeth. Frozen Milky Way bars are especially dangerous. These rock hard, chewy treats combine the worst qualities of ice cubes and sticky caramel.
Though you are not eating them, using your teeth to open packages, bite tape, hold bobby pins or chew on pen caps can cause fracturing. Teeth are for biting, chewing and incising food. They are not your all-purpose utility knife, at least not if you hope to keep them.
If you do suffer from a dental emergency call us at (262) 649-9436 as soon as possible. Do not wait!