Good oral health relies on a variety of factors, including regular checkups, proper dental hygiene, and healthy eating habits. Many of the same sugar-laden foods that lead to poor overall health may also double as public enemy number one for your teeth. Starchy or acidic foods will also do considerable damage to your tooth enamel if left undisturbed for too long. So, while regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene are of the utmost importance in keeping your pearly whites looking their best, don’t forget the fact that eating healthy plays a role, as well. Here are a few tips:
Healthy Foods, and What to Avoid For Good Oral Care
A nutritious diet for your body includes a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and some fats. The same diet that helps you stay trim, keeps your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, and provides energy to spare, will also help improve your oral health.
Here are some dentistry specifics:
Candy – Bacteria love to feed on sugar (doesn’t everyone). By lowering your sugar intake, you can lower the number of bad bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria causes harm to your teeth and gums. Especially avoid sticky or chewy types of candies. These can linger on your teeth long after the eating pleasure has gone. Opt for a square of chocolate that easily washes away after eating, when the sweet tooth must be fed.
Bread – White bread typically has lots of starch. The saliva in your mouth breaks down the starch and turns it into sugar. As you chew bread, it also takes on a gummy paste-like quality and sticks to the crevices between your teeth. Less-refined varieties of bread like whole wheat or rye contain fewer added sugars. These sugars don’t break down as easily as those found in white bread.
Beverages – Unless otherwise stated, soda always contains large amounts of sugar. Typically, pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks also use sugar for flavoring. Many contain artificial colors and acids that can erode tooth enamel, as well. Limit, or entirely avoid soda and other sugar-laden drinks when possible. Stick to water with meals to stay hydrated. Water will help you digest your meal better and absorb the nutrients found in the food you eat. Water also serves to moisten your mouth and flush bacteria and plaque from your teeth.
Fruits – When it comes to better oral health, not only are fruits a better choice than sugary snacks, but they can also help reduce cravings for sweets. Crisper fruits, like apples or pears, even help remove plaque from your teeth and freshen your breath. But, due to high concentrations of acid, some fruits should only be enjoyed in moderation. The acid found in grapefruit, pineapples, lemons, limes, and grapes erodes tooth enamel and leaves teeth vulnerable to cavities. As these fruits all contain vitamin C – an important antioxidant that fights bacteria and helps prevent gum damage – consider substituting for much less acidic fruits like honeydew, cantaloupe, bananas, or watermelons, all of which contain lots of vitamin C. Fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries that are rich in anthocyanins have been found to prevent the attachment and colonization of pathogens on teeth. Some compounds found in cranberries, for example, have been known to reduce bacteria that lead to plaque and tooth decay.
Vegetables – Hard vegetables like celery or uncooked carrots help generate mouth-cleansing saliva as well as stimulate gums. The beta carotene found in carrots and celery also helps your body to create essential nutrients like vitamin A. Dark or multi-colored leafy veggies such as spinach, kale, spinach, and cabbage contain phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium that play an essential role in maintaining healthy teeth and strong bones.
Processed Foods – Nowadays, just about everyone eats some processed foods, whether they know it or not. When possible, however, avoid heavily processed offerings such as hot dogs, bacon, frozen dinners, and any meals that come fully prepared. These foods often contain unhealthy levels of sodium, sugar, and fat. Also, prepared foods often lack nutritional value as heavy processing strips away many of their basic nutrients.
Contact Advanced Endodontics Dentistry
So, while regular checkups and proper oral hygiene both play a big role in keeping your pearly whites looking their best, don’t forget that healthy eating habits have a lot to say, as well. Want to learn more or need to address a dental issue? Contact us at Advanced Endodontics.