Not only does flossing keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh, it helps fight cavities and gum disease. When you visit your dentist for an exam or cleaning, he or she will usually floss your teeth for you. Even if you have never flossed outside of these appointments, it’s not too late to start working on your oral hygiene!
While regular brushing is great for your dental health, it’s rarely enough. Neglecting to floss may mean that you miss the plaque that builds up between your teeth or along your gum line. If plaque isn’t removed, it will eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar, which can only be removed by your dentist.
You should floss, but you might just have to if you eat any of the foods below on a regular basis. And, come on…is there anything more satisfying than FINALLY getting that piece of food stuck between your teeth?
The 7 Foods That Make You Floss, Ranked:
7. Corn, in any form.
Ah, corn. Delicious popped, and tasty on or off the cob. And yet, that pesky rascal just has a way of getting into your teeth and staying there. While corn off the cob certainly has a way of wedging itself into your teeth (silk strings, anyone?), perhaps the worst culprit is the popped stuff. In addition to leaving behind scraps of starch, the kernel pieces that wedge themselves between your molars can be downright impossible to get out. Sometimes kernels can even lodge themselves beneath the gum line, which draws in bacteria and may precipitate gum disease. Keeping some floss or picks on hand is a great way to rid your teeth of those stubborn pieces once and for all.
Perhaps the most embarrassing food to have between your teeth, spinach always seems determined to wedge itself into your smile. Whether you’ve finished a nice salad for lunch or enjoyed a tasty side dish, it’s likely that this green menace will somehow end up nestled between your incisors. Worst of all, since spinach is a soft food, it’s easy to miss it when you run your tongue over your teeth. Better hope you have that coworker who’s willing to pull you aside discretely! Or, you could keep some emergency floss on hand to tame that green devil…before he embarrasses you during the big meeting.
Raspberries: a sweet and delicious summer treat, or a tiny tooth fiend!? With over a hundred seeds per berry, these bad boys almost guarantee that they’ll end up stuck in your smile. Like popcorn kernels, it can be near impossible to fish those little seeds out once they get stuck under your gums. Raspberries aren’t the only culprits: sesame seed bagels, buns, and any other foods that produce those irritating little particles can prompt a reach for your dental floss.
Mango, papaya, pineapple…in addition to being juicy and refreshing, these fruits all have one thing in common: those stringy, thread-like fibers that love to wedge themselves in and around your teeth and gums. While you may luck out with a buttery smooth fruit, you’ll likely need to keep some floss on hand when you consume any of these fruits. Even one or two caught strings can get annoying, and fast!
While we’re on the subject of stringy foods, meat is one of the worst. Usually tough and chewy, it’s almost inevitable that those thin strands will wriggle their way between your teeth. Beef, chicken, fish, or pork: no meat is safe from the dreaded strings. Tougher meats, like steak, often pose the biggest problems, as do ribs or other meat straight off the bone. You could become a vegetarian…or just carry around some floss. Your “pick!”
And now, our dear friend, celery. Perhaps the food that is best for you on our list, celery is no less guilty than the rest. A naturally stringy food that loves to wedge itself between both front and back teeth, celery will force you to reach for your floss…but you might not have to! Like apples, celery is high in water. This is beneficial because it helps flush bacteria out of your mouth as you eat it. Furthermore, its fibrous nature actually scrapes plaque buildup off your teeth as you eat it! Even though those fibers may be obnoxious, they do act as natural floss, which will help rid you of all the other culprits on this list. But hey: we’d still keep a pack of floss on you, cause nobody does it better than the OG.
It may seem counterintuitive to reach for the floss after a few salty snacks, but crackers—saltines, specifically—are actually the #1 most cavity causing food. Really!? Yes, really. Worse even than candy? You best believe it. As a simple, highly processed starch, saltine crackers convert to sugar almost immediately. Feeding simple sugars to the bacteria in your mouth means they multiply and excrete waste. This leaves you with poor oral hygiene, bad breath, and feeds the same harmful bacteria as more obviously troublesome foods, like toffee or candy. If you can’t beat the cracker habit, at least make sure there’s no residue lingering in your mouth.
Besides flossing, what else can you do?
In addition to flossing after you eat any of these foods, chewing sugar-free gum or swishing water through your mouth may also help remove any stuck foods from your smile. Toothpicks can also be helpful for dislodging debris.
Did your favorite food make the list? Are you feeling like you need to check your teeth after reading this? Tell us in the comments about how you keep your grin food-free!
Ideal Dental was founded in 2008 and has over 80 locations across the state of Texas. Ideal Dental offices provide patients with a wide range of dental services including general dentistry, teeth whitening, orthodontics, oral surgery and emergency dental. Ideal Dental’s mission is to put smiles on the faces of hundreds of patients that visit its offices daily.