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.