When people think of dental health, oftentimes they think of preventative care like brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly. But what many people don’t seem to realize is that your diet actually has quite a lot to do with your dental health as well.
We often hear about the types of foods to avoid when it comes to the overall health of our teeth and gums, but what about the foods that are actually good for our oral health as well as our general health? There are certain foods we should be avoiding and there are also foods we should be consuming on a regular basis if we want to benefit our dental health.
Whenever you eat or drink sugary and/or starchy foods, you are actually “feeding” plaque that can build up in your mouth. Plaque forms a thin film on your teeth and when starches and/or sugars come in contact with the plaque on your teeth, the resulting acids attack your teeth for at least 20 minutes or so after you have finished eating.
If this process is repeated, the hard enamel on your teeth can begin to break down. However, just as there are foods that are bad for your teeth, there are also foods that are good for your teeth as well. While some foods promote tooth decay there are other foods that help fight the build-up of plaque on the surface of your teeth and actually promote better dental health.
What Are the Best Foods For Your Teeth?
High-fiber fruits and veggies– Foods that are high in fiber tend to have a “detergent-like” effect on your mouth, according to the ADA (American Dental Association). These foods also get your saliva flowing. This can be your next best natural defense from getting cavities and/or gum disease.
Around 20 minutes after you have eaten any foods containing starches and/or sugars, your saliva starts reducing the effects of all the acids and the enzymes that attack your teeth. Also, since saliva has traces of phosphate and calcium, it also helps to restore minerals to the areas of your teeth that may have lost them due to the effects of bacterial acids.
Milk, cheese, plain yogurt, and other dairy foods– Cheese also increases saliva production. The calcium in cheese and milk and the phosphates in milk and other dairy foods help put the minerals back into your teeth that may have been lost.
Green teas and black teas– Both of these contain polyphenols, which interact with plaque bacteria. They either hold back or kill bacteria, which prevents them from producing acid that can attack your teeth. Tea can also be a good fluoride source depending on the type of water used to brew it.
Sugarless chewing gum– This is another saliva-increaser that also removes particles of food from your mouth.
Foods containing fluoride– Fluoridated water and food containing fluoridated water help your teeth. This includes sugar-free powdered juices as well as dehydrated soups. Commercially prepared foods, like powdered cereals, seafood and poultry products can also provide fluoride.
What Are the Worst Foods For Your Teeth?
- Sticky candies and sweets containing refined sugars
- Starchy and/or sugary foods that can get trapped between teeth.
- Carbonated soft drinks contain citric and phosphoric acids that wear away enamel
- Substances that dry your mouth out like alcohol and certain medications
Now that you know which types of foods are the best and the worst for your dental health, feel free to spread the word.