We all want to have healthy, beautiful teeth. To achieve this, you need to watch what you eat and drink. What you put into your mouth and body has a direct impact on your oral health – in both negative and positive ways. Sugary foods like soda and candy can contribute to tooth decay while eating healthy foods such as lean protein, leafy green vegetables, and dairy foods can improve the health of your teeth and mouth.
Tooth decay occurs when sugar from the foods and beverages that you consume come into contact with the plaque in your mouth, which causes acid to attack your teeth. Foods containing high amounts of sugar and acid all may contribute to tooth decay. The good news is, that this is preventable through eating a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, brushing your teeth is no longer enough. To maintain good oral health and teeth as well as prevent tooth decay and cavities, the foods and beverages you consume are very important factors. The first defense that your teeth have against decay is the enamel on your teeth. In order to keep your tooth enamel strong, you should eat foods that are high in calcium. Also, if you eat foods that are high in vitamin D it will help you absorb calcium better.
Foods That Harm Your Teeth
Sticky and Hard Candy
Sucking on hard candies results in the candy being left in your mouth for some time. This results in your teeth being exposed to damaging acid and sugar for extended periods of time. Hard candies can also trigger dental emergencies such as chipped or broken teeth. Sticky candies can be a problem as well since the sugar in them sticks to your teeth.
Fruit Juices and Soda
These beverages contain high amounts of sugar and acid. This sugar is used by plaque bacteria to produce acids for attacking the enamel on your teeth. A majority of carbonated sodas are also very acidic which is bad for your teeth.
These beverages may also dry your mouth out.
Excessive Amounts of Citrus
Although citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemons, oranges and kiwis are excellent vitamin C sources, which promotes healthy gums, they also contain high amounts of acid which can damage the enamel of your teeth. To minimize the negative impacts they can have on your teeth, eat citrus foods in moderation.
Foods like ice, hard pretzels and peanut brittle can damage your teeth. Chewing on hard food can create extra friction and pressure which can result in cracked or chipped teeth.
Sticky foods like dried fruit and trail mix have a tendency to remain on your teeth for longer periods of time than other kinds of foods, which can cause damage to your teeth.
Alcohol causes dry mouth and dehydration. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol might experience a reduction in saliva flow over time. This can lead to oral infections like gum disease and tooth decay.
Foods That Benefit Your Teeth
Cheese contains healthy amounts nutrients, protein, and calcium that help to strengthen your tooth enamel. Eating cheese can lower your risk for tooth decay and raise the pH level in your mouth. The chewing needed to consume cheese also increase the flow of saliva inside your mouth.
Yogurt is also high in protein and calcium, which helps to strength your teeth and keep them healthy. The probiotics in yogurt are also beneficial for your gums since the good bacteria helps to crowd the bad bacteria out which causes cavities.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are full of minerals and vitamins and help to promote oral health. They contain high amounts of calcium to help build the enamel of your teeth.
Apples are high in water and fiber. Chewing on an apple also helps to stimulate the flow of saliva inside your mouth, which helps to rinse away food particles and bacteria. The fiber in apples helps to stimulate your gums.
Phosphorus-rich foods like eggs, milk, fish, poultry and meat contain valuable protein and help to strength your teeth.
Nuts contain minerals and protein that are essential for your overall health. They also help to stimulate saliva production, which helps to lower your risk of tooth decay.
The best beverage to drink to maintain your oral health is water. Water contains no sugar or calories and helps to rinse away food particles and bacteria. Fluoridated water helps your teeth be more resistant against cavity-causing acid attacks.
To enjoy healthy gums and teeth, the most important thing to do is think before you drink and eat. Keep the foods and beverages that are both beneficial and harmful to your teeth that we discussed above in mind when choosing what to eat and drink. Make sure to eat a balanced diet and also limit the number of in-between-meal snacks that you eat.
Here are some more tips to help you build and maintain healthy teeth:
- Eat a variety of whole foods from all of the major food groups, including fat-free and dairy foods, lean protein sources like fish, poultry and lean beef, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Drink lots of water. This will help to wash away food particles and bacteria.
- Limit your snacks. When you do have a snack, make sure it is something healthy for your teeth like cheese, yogurt, vegetables or fruit. Also, avoid foods that contain starches and sugars in between your meals.
- Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, floss every day, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Remember, you are what you eat! So keep these tips in mind and choose your foods and beverages carefully in order to keep your teeth healthy and strong.