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foods to avoidYou might already be brushing, flossing and rinsing your mouth twice a day to keep your teeth white and to prevent bad breath. But did you know that certain foods and liquids can stain your teeth and cause bad breath by feeding the bacteria that give off the sulphur compound we experience as bad breath. Below are the foods to avoid for better breath and teeth.

Dark Drinks
Beverages such as tea, coffee, coca cola and wine all stain those pearly whites as the years go by. Dark liquids penetrate right through to the innermost layer of your teeth (the dentin), and as a result it is very difficult to remove the discoloration. The surface of your teeth have microscopic holes that these colorants penetrate.

Not only does coffee damage your teeth, it also causes bad breath. Coffee neutralises the acid in your stomach pushing up gastric juice reinforcements that don’t belong anywhere near your tongue. To help protect your teeth from damage and to avoid bad breath, you should brush your teeth after each cup. You should also see your dentist for a good cleaning every six months, and it would be best to avoid drinking the beverage before you attend an important event. Sorry about that coffee lovers, but if you really must have a cup, at the very least, rinse your mouth out with water afterwards.

Not only does alcohol make us do silly things if we over indulge, it also causes dry mouth due to it being a diuretic. A dry mouth is the breeding ground for bad breath bacteria, and a dry mouth over time can lead to tooth decay as well as gum disease. Heavy use of alcohol will put your mouth at great risk for mouth cancer.

Sports Drinks
Most sports drinks are full of sugar. While this kind of beverage may help young athletes who do extreme amounts of vigorous physical activities, these drinks, in most cases are not necessary. Water is and will always remain the healthiest beverage you will find. Sports drinks often also contain colorants that may make them look appealing but are very likely to stain your teeth.

Onions and garlic
When eaten raw, onions leave a worse odour in your mouth than if they were cooked, and the smell is harder to get rid of. Garlic not only gets rid of vampires but also a date or a potential client, and we all know that garlic breath is really a bugger to get rid of. When garlic is cut it releases a chemical that is thought to be the same chemical as those present in vegetables that make your eyes water. This same chemical is also the culprit that gives you the stinky garlic breath.

Mmmm strawberries with cream for dessert? Or poppy and sesame seeds on those lunchtime rolls? After having enjoyed your desert or lunch, getting back to work, talking and smiling at your colleagues, then going to the rest room and oh no! There between your teeth are black and brown seeds. How embarrassing! So when you get the urge to eat seeds or fruits with seeds, make sure to brush and floss immediately afterwards or at least give your mouth a good rinse with water to dislodge anything.

Mielies (corn on the cob)
What is better than having a braai with your favourite salads and grilled mielies to accompany the grilled meat? The only problem is that once you have eaten the mielie pips off of the cob the mielies pips are stuck in the spaces between your teeth. It is not only very irritating but also very unflattering. Try to cut the mielie pips off of the cob and then eat them.

Great tasting sauce, but not great smelling breath. Did you know that it is the Isothiocyanate present in the horseradish that gives off the great taste you love so much? It is also however the plants natural defence against animals. That putrid smell keeps those pesky animals at bay.

Red Meat
Who hasn’t had that thick uncomfortable feeling after you have eaten red meat, especially ribs, when those chunks of meat have gotten stuck between your teeth? And sometimes trying to get them dislodged from between your teeth is a bit of an issue. And if there is a sticky sugary marinade covering the ribs, it clings to your teeth, and if you do not brush your teeth as well as floss you have the perfect recipe for cavities.

Sweets and Candies
Any sweets are unhealthy for your teeth and could cause cavities if the sugar is left on the teeth. The other negative is if you chew hard sweets, you could chip or break your tooth / teeth and you would have a dental emergency on your hands.

Ice Cubes
What is more refreshing than a cool glass of water with lots of ice? And more often than not when the water is finished, we start chewing on the ice cubes. Yes, water is healthy for you, but in ice form will break and chip your teeth as well as damage the enamel that protects our teeth. Try to avoid chewing on ice cubes and stick to the liquid form of H2O.

Citrus Fruit
The saying of too much of a good thing is not always a good thing applies here. Even though we know citrus has plenty of vitamins, it is not good at all for your teeth. The acid in these fruits erodes tooth enamel and after some time will cause decay in your teeth.