It's probably no secret that sugary sodas and candies are not good for your teeth, but there are a number of other foods that are just as damaging, and some of them may surprise you.
What you eat can affect your oral health as well as your overall health. People tend to associate certain foods as bad for the body and general wellness, but they can also cause plenty of harm to your teeth and gums.
If you're wondering which foods are the culprit in causing oral decay, starchy foods like pizza and crackers are a few of the top offenders. When you eat foods that are high in sugar and starch, as you take a bite into the food, the bacteria in your mouth begins to feed on the sugars and quickly turns them into acids. These acids can then continue to attack your teeth for as long as TWENTY MINUTES after you finish eating.
In time, the repeat acid attacks begin to break down the hard enamel on the surface of the teeth, and tooth decay occurs. By limiting those foods that are high in sugar, starch and acid, you are actively lowering your risk for cavities and gum disease.
When you choose foods that are good for you, you're also choosing foods that are actually good for your teeth!
Best choices are:
- Fresh fruits and veggies: they are lower in sugar and higher in water and fiber, and fiber acts is like a natural toothbrush to reduce the effects of sugar on the teeth.
- Citrus fruits and unsweetened juices: they are high in vitamin c and help to strengthen teeth and gums.
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli : they are loaded with folic acid as well as calcium.
- Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt are generally great for your teeth as these foods are rich in calcium and vitamin B12. Milk is usually fortified with Vitamin D, and your body needs this to help absorb calcium.
- (Note: try to avoid the flavored yogurts that contain lots of added sugar, as this will negate most of the benefits from the dairy)
Food to avoid:
- Sticky foods! They linger on the teeth the longest and can get stuck in between. These include taffies, caramels, and believe it or not, raisins and other types of dried fruits.
- Starchy, sugary items like soda, and most other processed foods and beverages
The following are some helpful tips for eating a well-balanced diet that is good for your body, as well as as your teeth:
- Eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy products.
- Limit carbohydrates.
- Minimize snacking between meals.
- When snacking, opt for the snacks that are high in protein, like milk, cheese unsweetened yogurts, and nuts
- Avoid sugary snacks and beverages. If you are treating yourself, do it during mealtime since that's when saliva production is increased, which helps rinse the sugars away from your teeth.
- Use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth and then rinse your mouth with water.
- Brush properly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to help protect your teeth
- Floss properly at least once daily
We hope you will follow these suggestions that can help ensure a healthy smile for life!
For further information, visit us at www.deltadentalnj.com and for additional tips and information, check out our oral health and wellness site, Dental Central.