Last month we told you that What You Drink Matters. In short, we suggested in order to improve your oral health that you should drink more water and less sugary drinks. This month we want to give you similar tips for the things you eat. While some foods can wreak havoc on your teeth, other foods can actually help to strengthen and protect your gums and teeth. In addition to practicing the basics of oral hygiene like brushing and flossing, here are some foods to consider—and some foods to avoid—when it comes to your oral health.
Good: Fiber-Rich Fruits and Veggies
The American Dental Association says that foods with fiber help keep your teeth and gums clean. The great thing about fiber-rich fruits and vegetables is that they almost always require some healthy chewing (think apples, carrots, bananas, broccoli, etc.) and chewing is great for your oral health. The more you chew, the more your mouth produces saliva. Saliva is your first defense against cavities because it naturally washes your teeth and prevents acids from eating away at tooth enamel.
Too much sugar is always going to be bad for your teeth because as the bacteria on your teeth begin to break down the sugar, acids form. These acids quickly dissolve your tooth enamel, and without tooth enamel to protect your teeth, decay and gum disease quickly follow. Candy is made up almost entirely of sugar and makes quick work of dissolving tooth enamel. If you’re going to treat yourself to a piece of candy from time-to-time, we suggest you avoid the chewy and sticky candies altogether because they are prone to stick to your teeth for a longer time and that makes it even more likely to cause decay.
Good: Dairy Products
Similar to saliva-producing foods with fiber, dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt, also help produce saliva. In addition, dairy products are high in calcium and calcium helps restore important minerals in your teeth that you may have lost from other foods. Calcium is also a great way to harden your tooth enamel and it even strengthens your jawbone.
Although bread is usually one of the first things you’re supposed to eliminate when going on any kind of diet, you may be surprised to find out that it is also not good for your teeth. The reason for this is that while you chew on bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. As the bread becomes mushy and sticky in your mouth, it quickly and easily sticks to the crevices between your teeth. As the sugars linger in those crevices, plaque begins to build up on your teeth, thus forming cavities.
In order to improve the health of your teeth, the next time you are craving something sweet, opt for the apple instead of the gummy worms. And don’t forget the most important oral hygiene habits: brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. In addition, visit your dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and checkup. We’d love for you to make an appointment with us at Cornerstone Family Dentistry so contact us today!