Don’t Break a Tooth! Avoid These Foods

A common dental emergency arises when patients bite into something hard and break a tooth.

Adults and kids should always consider their tooth health before biting into certain foods. Most of us don’t think twice and often end up paying the price. Several foods are hard enough to break a tooth. There are even a few we may have yet to think of.

The top foods that can break a tooth are:

  • Ice Cubes– Chewing ice is like chewing rocks. Those little pieces of frozen water are stronger than your tooth enamel. Give up this habit if you want to save your teeth.

  • Hard bread– Hard bread like baguettes, biscotti, and large baked pretzels can be extremely hard. Before you eat them, cut them into smaller pieces or dip them into a sauce to soften them up.

  • Hard candies– Hard candies are probably the most dangerous of all. Not only can they crack your teeth, but they also stick to them as well, making them extra difficult to clean.

  • Olive pits– Although olive parts are normally not a problem, one missed pit in a jar of olives can shatter a tooth. Check them first before you eat them. Fruit pits can also cause damage.

  • Popcorn– Unpopped kernels are always lurking in with fully popped pieces of popcorn. Watch what you’re eating, and you will be able to avoid the unpopped kernels and save your teeth from impending disaster.

  • Frozen Treats- Eating frozen treats such as bananas, candy bars, and hard ice cream bars is a fun summer pastime for many people. Yet indulging in these delicious delights can be risky business for one’s teeth. Treats with chewy ingredients such as caramel can cause damage due to their stickiness; the act of having to pull on it puts a strain on the gums and tooth enamel. In addition, the pressure can cause chips or even cracks. Moreover, biting into the treat when it is still too cold can also be hazardous: if the treat is too hard and you must really bite down in order to get a morsel, you could be at risk of breaking your molars. The best way to enjoy these treats while protecting your teeth is to wait until they have melted slightly; this allows for more flexibility and reduces damage.

  • Nuts- It is of utmost importance to be aware of the risks of eating various nuts or nut-related products. Nuts still in their shells, such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pistachios, can take a toll on your teeth if you use them to crack open the shell. By doing so, your teeth may slowly wear and become thin, resulting in chips, breaks, or fractures. Additionally, other factors need to be considered while consuming nuts – like the casings around peanuts and other similarly shaped nuts. This thin layer can easily become lodged in the gums creating severe gum irritation and inflammation. 

  • Corn on the Cob- Many don’t realize that the edges of their front teeth aren’t designed for biting and chewing into a cob of corn. On top of that, the enamel on the bottom edges at the front of your top teeth (and thus, the top edges of your bottom front teeth) are much thinner and more prone to cracking or chipping if placed in contact with something hard like a corn cob. In addition, if you have already had tooth-colored fillings, porcelain veneers, or crowns/bridges placed, then there is also a chance they can weaken and crack due to chomping down onto an ear of corn. 

Ways to Maintain Healthy Teeth

There are a few ways to decrease the risk of breaking teeth while eating. Lack of consistent dental care leads to an underlying weakness in tooth enamel. There are several ways to reduce the risk of breaking a tooth.

Stop and think before you eat. If a food is too hard for you to bite securely the first time, don’t risk your teeth. Find a way to break it up or avoid it altogether. If you break a tooth, you’ll want to repair it right away. Be cautious while eating, and you will save yourself a lot of pain and aggravation.

Dietary factors also contribute to cracked teeth. For example, foods such as sugary breakfast cereals are often a key factor for cavities. Tooth decay weakens the enamel, which increases the chance of tooth damage. Take extra care to brush thoroughly after consuming sugary cereal or avoid them altogether!

Another way to protect your teeth from the risk of tooth decay is by scheduling regular dental treatments. An oral disease of any kind is best addressed when identified in the early stages. Regular cleanings reduce plaque bacteria’s impact and help identify tooth erosion risks. 

At Ultimate Smile Design, we hope you never break a tooth. However, if a dental emergency arises, we’re here to help you ease the pain and restore your teeth. Give us a call in our Palm Bay, FL office for an appointment, and we’ll help you smile again.

This article was originally published in June 2017, but has been updated for freshness and accuracy.