Nutrition and Your Oral Health

How to eat for healthy teethWhat you put in your mouth makes a big difference in the state of your oral health. Whether it’s ingesting nutrients that affect the strength of your teeth or how food interacts when it comes into contact with your mouth, you must pay attention to what you eat. If you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong, consider which foods are good and bad for your smile.

The Good

  • Apples. Apples help aid saliva production, essentially flushing out food and harmful bacteria. One bite of an apple naturally cleanses and whitens your smile. The fruit can also stimulate your gums due to its stringy texture.
  • Sugarless Gum. All that chewing keeps your teeth and gums active, in addition to promoting saliva production. In fact, chewing sugarfree gum produces ten times more saliva than usual.  
  • Yogurt. High levels of protein and calcium help strengthen your teeth. The probiotics found in yogurt are good for your gums, as they override cavity-causing bacteria. The healthiest option is plain yogurt with no added sugar.
  • Water. Drinking plain water is especially beneficial to your oral health as it washes away residual food and harmful bacteria in your mouth. Water also promotes saliva production and mouth hydration to prevent dry mouth, which can cause tooth decay.
  • Celery. This veggie is full of gum-healthy antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A with a crunchy texture that gently brushes your teeth as you chew. Because it requires a lot of chewing, celery creates a decent amount of saliva to help rinse your mouth of bad bacteria.

The Bad

  • Candy. This one is a no-brainer. Candy is full of sugar, which causes cavities. Chewy candy sticks to your teeth and is difficult to remove, and sour candies have the added damage of being acidic in addition to sugary. Eating hard candy causes the substance to linger in your mouth and also increases the risk of chipped teeth.
  • Coffee. Coffee stains your teeth even worse than tobacco does. The stickiness of coffee stains can also cause bacteria and food particles to cling to your teeth.
  • Pickles. Thanks to all that vinegar, pickles contain a high level of acidity that can break down your tooth’s enamel.
  • Alcohol. Over time, alcohol decreases the amount of saliva your mouth produces. Wine, in particular, contains acid that erodes tooth enamel. It should also be noted that heavy drinking is linked to a higher risk of oral cancer.
  • Dried Fruits. The sticky texture invites bits and pieces to adhere to your teeth. Dried fruits also contain more sugar than fresh fruit, sometimes containing sugar additives as well.
  • Sugary Drinks. Sipping on sugary drinks is essentially like using sugar as a mouth-rinse, coating your entire mouth in the cavity-causing substance throughout the day. If you must get your sweet fix through beverages, choose options sweetened with sugar substitutes instead of the real thing.

Nobody’s perfect, so it’s understandable that you’ll want to indulge in your favorite treats from time to time, even if you know they aren’t the best for you teeth. With regular dental cleanings, you can keep track of your oral health and reverse any damage caused by indulgent snacks.

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| June 18, 2018 |

Dental Tips

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About the Author: Dr. Patel

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