Your pearly whites are on the front lines in the battle against damage and decay. Know your enemies when it comes to fighting gum disease and tooth decay by exploring which foods are a healthy choice and which can have a damaging effect.
When Sugar is Not So Sweet
Ever wondered what the difference was between sugar-filled and sugar-free food? For the health of your teeth it makes all the difference in the world. Keep your smile bright and cavity free by cutting back on sweets and when possible, using artificial sugar replacements such as isomalt, mannitol, erythritol, and sorbitol. Unlike real sugar, corn syrup, honey and molasses, these sweeteners don’t contribute to the overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. Some natural sugar is OK, but must be limited.
Crunching Cavities: One Vegetable at a Time
Other foods can benefit your dental health as well. You might have already guessed that the foods that support your overall health would be better for your teeth. Crunchy vegetables like celery that can produce more bacteria-fighting saliva; carrots that can help remove plaque; and onions, which produce powerful anti-bacterial sulfur compounds — are all good choices. Similarly, fruits like crunchy apples and pears can massage swollen gums and keep plaque at bay.
Dairy Does the Trick
What about calcium for tooth support? Did you know that some dairy products can aid in improving dental health? You can actually prevent tooth erosion and decay by consuming milk and yogurt. These low-acidity foods are also high in calcium, which strengthens teeth and bones. Sunflower seeds are also high in calcium and help build tooth enamel.
Good Old Fashioned H2O
After eating your fruits, veggies, seeds and cheese—make sure to wash it all down with a nice cold glass of water! Fluorinated water is the best option. Besides keeping all facets of your form in working order, it’s a secret weapon for healthy teeth. Whether it’s rinsing out food particles and plaque, hydrating your gums, or helping you to produce more saliva—water is a powerful protection against dental disease.
Tea is also a good source of fluoride for teeth. Unlike its sugary counterparts such as soda, lemonade, juices and energy drinks—it doesn’t have excessive amounts of sugar, which can rot teeth by stripping minerals from tooth enamel. Sipping these sugary drinks over prolonged period of time also helps to produce consistent amounts of acid. Sodas are best avoided.
The Cavity Culprits
Wondering what else you should steer clear of? Some of the worst foods for your dental health include sour candy—which has added acids to create their tartness and flavor. Another type of food that is not tooth-friendly…starchy carbohydrates like bread and potato chips that can wedge in-between teeth and become a hardy meal for bacteria to feast on. Even unsuspecting (sugar filled) cough drops can have a negative effect on teeth.
Your teeth need nutrients just as much as the rest of you. Eating the right foods and practicing healthy habits such as daily flossing and twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste are easy ways to protect your mouth.