You brush and floss twice a day to keep your smile healthy, but how much thought do you put into the specific types of food that go into your mouth? There are foods that can help to keep your teeth strong and healthy, and others that can work to erode enamel and create destructive acids. We’ve made a list of foods to choose more often, and a list of foods to avoid, in the hopes of helping to make your meal and snacking choices easy, and to keep you smiling.
Eat this: cheese, meat, nuts, and milk
Some of the best food choices you can make for your oral health include cheeses, meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are high in calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that help to keep your tooth enamel strong. When you choose these foods you are allowing the minerals in them to redeposit onto your teeth and into your tooth enamel, which is called remineralization.
Not that: White flour and starch
Starchy foods like potato chips, white bread, white pasta, and crackers contain more sugars than whole wheat alternatives. If not removed soon after eating, these sugars will result in destructive acids that can harm teeth and gums.
Eat this: crunchy fruits and vegetables
Crunchy fruits and vegetables are a great snack for your teeth as they have high water content which dilutes their natural sugars. When eaten, these foods scrape against teeth and their water content helps to wash away food particles on teeth. Fruits and vegetables with a high water content are also known to encourage saliva production which also helps in cleaning the mouth and creating a barrier between teeth and destructive acids.
Not that: citrus fruits and acidic foods
If acidic foods like lemons, limes, oranges, and pickles are eaten in excess or kept in the mouth for an extended amount of time, the acids in them can eat away at the enamel. This erosion of enamel weakens the strength of the tooth and can leave them susceptible to sensitivity and decay.
Drink this: Water
Water is the best beverage when it comes to the health of your mouth. Although our water in the Lower Mainland isn’t fluoridated, studies have shown that regularly drinking water with trace amounts of fluoride can prevent cavities up to 25% better than water without fluoride can. If you have any questions or concerns regarding that, feel free to ask your dentist. It’s a very common topic of questioning, and any of our clinics would be happy to help.
Drinking water throughout the day also helps to wash away sugars and acids from foods that rest on and in between teeth. This prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria and plaque that feed off of these acids and can damage tooth enamel and gum tissue.
Not that: Soda, juice, and other sugary drinks
Be aware of what you are drinking throughout the day. Continually sipping on drinks that contain sugars means constant exposure to harmful acids all day long. Having that amount of sugar exposure means that there will be quicker tooth decay, and possibly other oral issues such as canker sores.
Chew this: sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar free gum actually helps to clean your teeth, believe it or not. The sticky texture is great for getting in between teeth and removing food particles and some plaque. The chewing action also promotes saliva production which helps to clear out acids in the mouth. It is very important to be aware of whether or not the gum you are chewing is sugar free or not as gum with sugar in it will do more harm to your teeth than good.
Not that: sticky candy
Chewy, hard, and sticky candies wreak havoc on teeth as they expose them to sugar not only while they are being eaten, but typically also for long after. If the sugar is not immediately removed, it will react with bacteria in the mouth and create destructive acids that can harm both teeth and gums.
While sugar-free substitutes such as aspartame or sucralose are an area of health controversy, they are a suitable option for those who are looking to optimize their dental well-being. Because these substitutes are not made of sugar, they do not react the same way as sugar when they come in contact with your teeth, making them an alternative that benefits your teeth.
So with all that in mind, we hope you’re well prepared to weigh the pros and cons of what you eat in the future. And, as always, if you have any questions or additions, you can feel free to reach out to us on facebook, through email, on twitter, or on Google plus. Happy eating!