When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, what you eat makes a world of difference. Every time you pop that candy in your mouth or treat yourself to desserts, you’re putting your oral health in risk by feeding the plaque that can cause problems in your mouth.
However, it’s not just candies or sugary treats that invite trouble for your teeth. There are other types of food that aren’t great for your teeth. On the other hand, some foods help combat plaque buildup and keep your teeth and gums healthy. In this post, we’ll shed light on the foods you must stay away from — and those you must include in your daily diet — to help keep your smile sparkling.
Foods that aren’t your teeth’s best friends
Sweets and sugary foods. This class of food is the No.1 enemy of your teeth but chewy toffees, sticky gums, and hard candies are worst offenders. They cling to the nooks and crannies inside your mouth, making it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away. Sugary foods create an optimum environment for the bacteria to feed and grow, triggering various teeth and gum related problems.
Pickles and foods doused in vinegar. What makes pickle a threat to your oral health? The vinegar involved in the pickling process. When your teeth are exposed to foods with high amounts of vinegar in them, it erodes the enamel on your teeth, making them weak in the process. A 2004 study even found that eating pickles more than once a day increased the odds of tooth wear by about 85%.
Foods high in starch and refined carbohydrates. Excess intake of chips, bread, pasta or crackers is often as harmful to the teeth as a sugary treat. The refined carbs found in white flour are easily converted to sugar in the mouth, allowing bacteria to feed on these sugars and produce acid, which causes tooth decay.
Sodas and fizzy drinks. Sodas contain a high amount of sugar that harms your teeth in many ways. But even sugar-free diet sodas — which contain citric and phosphoric acids — weaken the tooth enamel, causing your teeth to become stained and brown. Sure, you can go buy teeth whitening kits to deal with this, but prevention is better than treatment in my opinion.
Other foods that harm your teeth include energy drinks, bottled iced teas, coffee, red wine, lemonades, fruit juices, and even citric fruits. It’s advisable to avoid keeping these foods in your mouth for long and rinse your mouth thoroughly after you’re done eating.
Foods that fight tooth decay
High-fibre food. Leafy greens, crisp fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery etc. do wonders for your teeth. Consuming fibrous foods require a lot of chewing, which stimulate saliva flow— your mouth’s natural defense against cavities.
Milk and dairy products. These foods are a rich source of calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth and gums.
Strawberries. These berries are high in malic acid, a natural enamel whitener. Including strawberries in your daily diet cab help combat problems like staining and yellowing of teeth.
Fluoridated drinking water. Water, like saliva, washes harmful sugars and acid off teeth. Plus, it naturally contains fluoride, a mineral that protects teeth against erosion. However, if water doesn’t contain sufficient fluoride where you live, you could ask your dentist about fluoride supplements.
Being a multicultural nation, Australia boasts of a vibrant mélange of cultural traditions, languages — and yes, you guessed it right — food. With people from extremely diverse backgrounds calling it a home, it’s very easy to find Thai curries, South-Asian food, Mediterranean cuisine, and the like filtering into our mainstream food scene. But, it’s equally hard to pin down a specific cuisine as something distinctly Australian. There are certain dishes, however, that can be considered as typical Australian food. While some of these have ruled our hearts (and bellies) for ages, others are more recent additions to our food repertoire.
As they say — no other nation does barbecues like they do Down Under. Besides fresh ingredients, it’s the weather that lends itself excellently to the whole idea of backyard cooking. And, no we don’t restrict ourselves to tossing “shrimps on the barbie”, rather we love to grill practically anything under the sun — be it chicken, steak, seafood or veggies and fruits.
We certainly don’t claim to be the only nation on earth to serve and love meat pies but they are nothing short of an icon in Australian culture. The most celebrated food item on the menu of service station, bakeries, local pubs, and fast food chains all over the nation, this humble meat and gravy filled, flaky pastry case is often considered to be Australia’s national dish. Not to forget, the “Official Great Aussie Pie Competition” has been a national event since 1990.
Another cultural icon in Australia (according to the National Trust of Queensland), the lamington is a sponge cake dipped in chocolate sauce, coated in desiccated coconut, and sometimes filled with cream or strawberry jam. Named after its creator Lord Lamington (once a governor of Queensland), these sweet snacks are commonly served with tea and coffee.
This is a dessert with a meringue base, covered in freshly whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit, and the contrast between its crisp outer shell and light, fluffy inside creates a unique, unforgettable taste. Believed to be inspired by the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova following her tour of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s, its origin remains a hot topic for debate between us and our Kiwi cousins, to this day.
Originally known as a ‘soldier’s biscuit’ or ‘ANZAC tile’, this much-loved Australian food comes with an interesting back story. A commemoration of the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in World War I, this biscuit is associated with Anzac Day on April 25.
The Anzac biscuit was baked by the womenfolk in the soldiers’ families during the war and sent to soldiers. They were perfect for the purpose because the basic ingredients of these biscuits — rolled oats, flour, sugar, grated coconut, golden syrup, butter, bicarbonate of soda and water — were able to stand the long boat journeys.
Our love for Vegemite is world famous. In fact, in much of the world outside our country, Vegemite is considered to be the signature Aussie food. Made from brewer’s yeast, Vegemite is a classic breakfast item, best enjoyed as a thin layer on buttered toast.
While these are some of the most-loved Aussie delicacies, they are just the tip of the iceberg considering the range of cuisines that have been making their way into our palette for many decades.