Patients come in to my New York dentist office almost every week with dental emergencies and at least some of the emergencies are caused by food accidents. Patients often report that they were eating something and their tooth cracked or their filling or crown came out. Just what, in my opinion are the most dangerous foods?
Just about every month a dental patient comes in with popcorn induced problem. Although popcorn is low on calories, that is probably because it is not entirely digestible. The little brown husks tend to get stuck in between back teeth and the gums causing what I call a ‘popcorn abscesses”. All that is usually required to treat this malady is to fish out the offending popcorn husk and sometimes place the patient on an antibiotic. A more serious consequence of chewing popcorn is that the uncooked kernel can crack teeth! When eating popcorn, often people bite into it with out any reservations, fast and hard, and if there teeth unexpectedly encounter an unpopped popcorn kernel, cracked teeth can and do result. Certainly the unpopped kernels can make previously cracked teeth worse.
Chewing on ice cubes probably causes a lot of broken teeth. Back teeth with large fillings in them are particularly vulnerable to ice cubes!
Tootsie rolls and any caramel based candies. Tend to pull out dental work, especially dental work that is already loosened. It is very common, when patients bring in a gold inlay that came out, to find remnants of tootsie rolls coating the inner surface. Some how the tootsie roll seems to wedge itself in between the tooth and the inlay and pull it out.
Frozen milky ways are similarly dangerous and are especially treacherous as they combine the worst qualities of ice cubes and caramel stickiness.
Chicken salad makes the list of most dangerous foods, because it is extremely soft and people tend not to be too careful about biting into chicken salad. If a small piece of bone is accidentally left in the salad it can easily crack a persons tooth.
All those delicious French baguettes seem to be hard on anterior crowns. Biting into them with delicate dental work can cause an accidental unseating of a crown or even can speed up the failure of a post and crown combination. Posts and crowns made in anterior teeth seem particularly vulnerable.
Chewing on non food items can be especially dangerous! Pipe stems, bic pens, the metal eraser holders on the tops of pencils, are not meant to be chewed on, but patients do tend to ignore this fact. Tongue piercings can fall into this category since sometimes the metal balls attached to them are tempting to chew on.
I personally love Coca cola, but my teeth hurt after I have it. It tends to have some really bad characteristics, including high acidity and high sugar content. Also carbonated sodas are bad in general for your teeth!
Fibrous pieces of meat can be dangerous if they become wedged in between faulty contacts. Sometimes they cause gum problems or even root caries if allowed to remain in place for months (pretty gross).
This is only a partial list of ‘the most dangerous foods’ and not meant to be all inclusive. I personally continue to enjoy cokes and have been known to munch on tootsie rolls if given one. No one is perfect!