Best and Worst Breakfasts for Your Teeth

Updated August 17, 2016

Barely awake, you drag yourself out of bed as the sound of the alarm pierces your head. It’s chaos in the house with the children trying to find clothes to wear and where they put their homework. It’s time to get everybody ready and out the door for school. But wait, they need to have breakfast.

Busy mornings sometimes lead to unhealthy breakfast choices. It's easier to pop a frozen waffle or breakfast pastry into the toaster than to prepare less-sugary fare. Besides, the kids won't throw a fit as long as their breakfast contains more sugar than any other ingredient, right? Sugary breakfast foods, however, can cause cavities, bad breath, and other nasty side effects. We’ve outlined some of the worst, and best, breakfast choices for your teeth.

What Are the Worst Breakfast Foods for Your Teeth?

Before you can decide what you should fix for breakfast every morning, it helps to know which foods you should avoid. Although fat and cholesterol can also negatively impact your health, sugar serves as the worst culprit for oral health issues.

Cereal is one of the most common breakfast mistakes. Even the healthiest breakfast cereals often contain too much sugar, which can lead to cavities as well as late-morning energy crashes. CBS News ranked some of the worst cereals in terms of sugar content, and many of the most-popular brands made the list. Particularly egregious offenders include Froot Loops (41 percent sugar), Apple Jacks (42 percent sugar), Honey Smacks (55 percent sugar), and Crunch Berries (46 percent sugar).

It's also a good idea to avoid breakfast pastries, from quick-fix options like Pop-Tarts and Toaster Strudel to the options you might find at your local bakery, such as doughnuts, apple fritters, danishes, and cinnamon buns. Steer clear of breakfast options that have icing or a crust of sugar.

Pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast foods that you traditionally serve with syrup can also damage your teeth. It’s ok to indulge every so often, but don't make them part of your morning routine. Instead, save pancakes and waffles for special occasions and limit the amount of syrup you pour on top. Moderation is the name of the game.

You can also look for low-sugar breakfast alternatives. If you love Belgian waffles or French toast, for instance, consider scouring the supermarket shelves for sugar-free or low-sugar syrup options. You can also skip the syrup all together and use a sugar-free jam preserve on your waffles, pancakes, or French toast. It will have just enough natural sugar to give your breakfast a sweet taste, but it won’t cause that late morning drain of energy that you often feel after eating a breakfast high in sugar. You can then enjoy your favorite breakfast food without the calories or the danger to your teeth.

Of course, sugar isn't the only ingredient that can damage your teeth during breakfast. If you don't want to stain your enamel, avoid coffee and tea as much as possible. One great hack is to sip on iced coffee or tea through a straw so it doesn't come into contact with your teeth. Citrusy, acidic fruits can also damage your chompers.

We all indulge at times, so it’s best to visit a dentist for regular check-ups and teeth cleaning. While these expenses may seem unnecessary, discount dental plans such as Carefree Dental provide significant savings on dental care to help keep you and your family healthy. Find a provider today and save on your next check-up.

What Are the Best Breakfast Foods for Your Teeth?

If you're looking for breakfast foods that won't send you to the dentist every few months, seek out options that boast low sugar counts. For instance, The Huffington Post recommends yogurt as a healthy, tooth-friendly breakfast food. Not only is it low in sugar (and also comes in sugar-free varieties), but it also contains healthy bacteria that help maintain an appropriate bacterial balance in your mouth. You could add in some high fiber, sugar-free granola as well as some berries to have a balanced breakfast meal complete with protein, carbohydrates, and a serving of fruit to keep you and your teeth healthy.

Breakfast foods that contain dairy offer excellent choices for your daily routine. Dairy contains calcium, which helps keep your teeth (as well as your bones and other body parts) strong. A slice of cheese, a glass of milk, or a spoonful of cottage cheese might hit the spot.

Another option is adding non-citrus fruit to your breakfast rotation. Berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, contain healthy nutrients and minerals that benefit your oral health as well as the rest of your body. Berries are great for your metabolism too. They are a slow carbohydrate, so they break down gradually over a period of time. Since they break down slower than a regular carbohydrate, they keep you fuller longer and regulate your metabolism. However, these fruits contain sugar, so you'll want to brush and floss soon afterwards.

How Can Adults and Children Protect Their Teeth During Breakfast?

Regardless of the breakfast menu in your home, you can protect yourself (and your teeth) by brushing as soon as you take the last bite. You'll remove sugar and other substances from the surfaces of your teeth and, as a bonus, you'll leave the house with fresh breath.

It's also a good idea to wait for lunch instead of snacking through your morning routine. Snacks introduce sugar and other substances to your mouth, which makes tooth decay more likely. If you do need to snack, make sure you choose snacks that are low in sugar, high in fiber and protein, and that are 100 calories or less. This way you are not taking in too many calories, but you are getting an added boost of energy and keeping your teeth healthy by not eating a sugary snack. Obviously, it is best not to be constantly snacking and if you stick with three meals per day, you'll give your mouth a chance to rest between foods and you'll enjoy cleaner, healthier teeth and gums.

By doing so, you will have one less thing to worry about on your chaotic and busy mornings with the family.

If you have trouble getting your kids to brush in the morning, make a game out of it, or buy a toothbrush that features their favorite fictional characters. Consider playing a favorite song while they brush. When the song ends, they can rinse and get on with their day.

Most importantly, make sure everyone in your family visits the dentist at least twice a year. If you don't have dental insurance coverage, you might have trouble fitting those visits into your budget. With the Carefree Dental discount plan, you show your card and save money instantly, and ensure your family gets the dental care they deserve without the sticker shock when the bill comes.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but steer clear of sugary treats as often as possible. Instead, fill your fridge and pantry with low-sugar, high-nutrient breakfast foods that will keep your family healthy and satisfy your hunger.

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