Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly go a long way to maintain oral health. But proper diet and nutrition are just as important to your teeth and gums, as they relate to to your overall health. Performing daily maintenance ultimately isn’t enough to counteract the effects of an unhealthy diet or bad habits – like chewing ice. To keep your smile for a lifetime, follow these guidelines for foods that benefit your oral health, and those to avoid.
Common foods that are good for your teeth
There are a wide variety of foods to promote healthy teeth that you may unknowingly already be stocking up on. Health and fitness blogger Sophia Breene writing for Greatest recommends the following foods that prevent tooth decay or provide essential nutrients:
- Red meat, fish, tofu and broth – These high-protein foods are a great source for the essential mineral, phosphorus. Through a process called remineralization, it can replace minerals in your teeth, as well as protect enamel.
- Dairy and eggs – Dairy products and eggs contain calcium and vitamin D, which assist in bone health. These strengthening agents prevent teeth from becoming broken, chipped or cracked.
- Cheese and yogurt – Besides calcium and phosphorus, cheese and yogurt also reduce acid levels in the mouth. This can be very beneficial in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease, as the bacteria in plaque uses acid to destroy enamel.
- Dark, leafy veggies – If you can overlook the color green, broccoli, kale, spinach and lettuce are an easy way to get a dose of folic acids, vitamins and minerals.
- High-fiber fruits – One of the more delicious options, high-fiber fruits naturally freshen breath and stimulate saliva flow to wash away leftover food particles. To name a few, these include apples, pears, raspberries and blackberries.
- Crunchy vegetables – High in water content, carrots, celery, peppers, or cucumbers, are all great ways to keep your teeth in check. Not only do they stimulate saliva, but scrub the surface of your teeth and act as a natural floss.
Common foods that are bad for your teeth
Having the knowledge of what foods are bad for your teeth should make it easier to limit or cut them out altogether. Learn which foods to avoid and how they can affect your teeth (not to mention your general health):
- Bread and potato chips – These two popular foods are a great example as to how sugar affects your teeth. Made of sticky starches, bread and chips break down into sugar, and can easily get stuck between teeth. These tough-to-remove bits of food contribute to plaque build-up. To prevent cavities, make sure to floss after eating, or at least before bedtime.
- Ice – Some people have the habit of chewing ice, but many don’t realize the risk of tooth damage. Despite being made of water, ice is hard enough to crack, break, or chip teeth and loosen dental crowns. If ice is too tempting, stick to chilled drinks instead.
- Carbonated drinks – You have most likely heard about the excessive sugar content of sodas. By indulging in carbonated drinks, you are helping plaque create enamel-attacking acids. For those who sip on a soda all day, the assault is constant. As with most dark-colored drinks, soda can also cause staining. Try drinking with a straw to bypass your teeth, and always sip water in between. Better yet, cut down on or eliminate these drinks to decrease your chances for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Alcohol – Besides a high sugar content, alcohol dries out your mouth. This is a problem, as saliva functions as a cleansing agent, washing away food particles that stick to your teeth and gums. Drink water between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated – and count the number of those drinks! The short- and long-term detrimental effects of alcohol to health and well-being are well-documented.
- Sour Candies – Candy in general contains large amounts of sugar, which we know is bad for our teeth, but sour candy includes additional acids that are even harsher. Most of these candies are chewy, meaning they will hang around in your mouth for a while, increasing the risk of cavities.
- Citrus fruits – You have likely heard about the bad acids contained in lemons, as well as other citrus fruits. Oranges, pineapples and grapefruits are just a few fruits that can permanently damage the enamel of your teeth. Be sure you counteract the negative effects of these otherwise healthy foods by brushing as soon as possible after eating.
Get a regular check-up
Of course, regular dental check-ups are essential for the dentist to examine your teeth and gums for any changes that may need attention. Make an appointment today at NK Family Dental, for professional teeth cleaning and cosmetic services. We combine state-of-the-art technology, quality restorative materials, and advanced procedures in order to provide you with a naturally beautiful and healthy smile. Contact us today to get started!