Taking care of your mouth is about more than just brushing your teeth and actually flossing as much as you say you do to your dentist. There are many factors that go into your overall dental health, and Flintlock Dental is going to look more in-depth at one of those factors here – what you eat. That’s right, the foods and drinks you consume have a profound effect on your overall dental health. Let’s look at a list of foods that are good for your teeth, as well as some foods that are not so good.
Foods that are Good for your Teeth
The following types of foods are beneficial for your teeth in some way and help promote good overall oral health:
Water - Water protects the teeth and gums by helping build the production of saliva, which helps reduce sugars and bacteria that are left on the teeth. Water also helps wash away pieces of food that are left in your mouth without leaving behind sugars or acid. Choosing water over sugary drinks is a great thing to do for many health reasons, not just your teeth. Water is by far the best liquid to drink to keep your teeth healthy.
Dairy Products – Dairy products are great for the calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D they contain. All of these things help to strengthen your teeth and help prevent tooth decay.
Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables - These types of produce help to scrub the bacteria off of your teeth while stimulating saliva flow to help neutralize acids. Examples of these types of produce include carrots, celery, apples and other water-based options.
Nuts - Certain nuts will give some oral health benefits. For example, peanuts provide calcium and vitamin D and cashews help with saliva stimulation.
Even though these are healthy options, they (besides water) still contain natural sugars that are not good for your teeth. Even though you are eating things that can help your oral health, it’s still necessary to brush your teeth twice a day for good oral hygiene.
Foods that are Bad for your Teeth
It’s even more important to know which foods are not good for your oral health, so you can make better decisions when you pick out what to eat. Sugary foods are an obvious problem, but there may be some foods and drinks that you weren’t aware are bad for your oral health. Let’s take a look at some of the worst contenders below:
Candy and Sweets – These are the most obvious problem food for oral health. Sticky sweets adhere to your teeth like glue and cannot easily be washed away by saliva. The sugar can cause tooth decay, especially if you’re regularly snacking on these sweets between your meals.
Soft Drinks - Like with candy, most soft drinks are packed full of sugar and also contain acidity that’s bad for your teeth. Unfortunately, diet sodas are not much better for your teeth. Soft drinks will wear down the enamel on your teeth, leaving them an easy target for tooth decay.
Starchy Carbohydrates - Bacteria likes to feed on the simple sugars that these types of foods leave behind. They include chips, bread, crackers, and pasta. The type of bacteria that love these foods can produce acid that will cause plaque buildup and tooth decay over time.
Acidic Foods - The acid that’s naturally found in some foods such as citrus fruits as well as pickles can slowly wear down the enamel on your teeth. So while you think you are eating something good (and in some ways you are) just be aware that too much can be damaging to your teeth.
Juices and Dried Fruits - These types of foods and drinks have a high concentration of sugar. These sugars will cause problems that are similar to candy and sweets, even though they offer health benefits such as vitamins.
Fruit Chews – Even worse than dried fruits are those easy-to-grab packets of fruit snacks. While they sound like a healthy option, they are loaded with sugar and the stickiness will make them stay on your teeth for a long time, making the problem worse. You are basically eating a small bag of gooey candy. Same goes for those fruit gummy vitamins you give yourself and your kids every night. It’s a vitamin, it must be healthy, right? The healthy look to the package and labeling makes you believe you are eating something great, but it comes at the cost of your tooth enamel.
For most of us, there’s no perfect way to eat healthy for your teeth, so the best option available is to eat all of the “bad” things mentioned above in moderation. If you consume that soft drink or sugary snack, just remember to brush your teeth. Making sure to limit those sweets and add more of the foods that are good for your teeth is beneficial for your overall health as well as your dental health.
If you want more information on dental health, check out Flintlock Dental’s other blogs, such as this one that goes over teeth whitening!