You know the food choices you make are an important part of staying fit and healthy. Fruits and veggies are good picks; fast food and candy aren’t. Your diet, however, impacts more than your blood pressure and BMI—eating right can have a huge impact on your pearly whites. Here’s what you need to know about the best and worst foods for your teeth.
1. Take a Hard Pass on Hard Candies and Taffy.
Not all sweets are created equal. Many dentists believe these types of candies are one of the worst. Chewy and gummy candies that stick to the teeth can easily cause problems. Because these treats often require more work to break down, they spend more time on the teeth and are harder to remove. The longer the sugar stays behind, the more bacteria it creates. Bacteria can then lead to other issues like cavities and gingivitis. In addition to sometimes being strong enough to chip or crack teeth, hard candies also require a lot more saliva and time in the mouth to break down. This means subjecting the teeth to sugary saliva over and over until the candy is consumed.
2. An Apple a Day Keeps the Dentist Away.
Healthy teeth require a diet filled with colorful fruits and veggies. Apples, leafy greens, carrots, celery and cranberries are all top picks because they are high in vitamins and minerals. Any option with a high water content also helps to stimulate saliva to rinse away food particles and harmful bacteria. Two exceptions to the fruits-and-veggies rule are pickled veggies (veggies soaked in vinegar) and citrus fruits. Try to limit pickles, lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges in your diet, as the acidity can often break down enamel. This makes teeth vulnerable to cavities and other dental issues.
3. Dairy and Dental Health Go Hand-in-Hand.
If you love yogurt, cheese and milk, you’re in luck. These foods are not only high in calcium, a mineral that helps strengthen and protect teeth, many foods in the dairy section of the food pyramid have probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep harmful bacteria at bay.
4. Beware Your Beverage Choices.
Foods aren’t the only thing that have an impact on your oral health; what you drink matters, too. Soda, coffee and tea, sports drinks and alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation. Many of these beverages contain high amounts of sugar, while the others are prone to staining or yellowing your pearly whites. The best defense against these liquids is fluoride water. The fluoride will strengthen and protect teeth. After consuming a beverage on this list, follow it up with a glass of water to limit the effects. The bottom line is that one meal isn’t likely to lead to serious oral health issues.
By enjoying certain foods and beverages in moderation, passing on the worst treats, and brushing and flossing daily, everyone can enjoy a delicious meal or snack without fearing the worst from their dentist. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can also help mitigate any damage caused by too many treats. Schedule an appointment at TenderCare Dental and receive expert oral care in a comfortable environment. We have eight locations around the Portland area, so the best in dental care is never far away!