When it comes to dental health and gum health, prevention is key! Here are a list of food and drink items to add and take away from your diet to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape for your next dental appointment:
Foods to Eat in Moderation or Avoid
Citrus fruits and juices and other acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth susceptible to decay over time. Orange Juice is less acidic than most juices and usually has calcium and vitamin D which are good for your teeth so drink OJ in moderation, just brush and floss afterwards.
Candy – Especially the Hard & Chewy Kind. The bacteria in our mouths actually feeds on the sugar we eat, this creates acids that destroy the tooth enamel and causes cavities. Sticky foods can be even more damaging since they tend to stick to the teeth and in between your teeth longer than other types of foods. In addition to the sugar, if you bite on a hard candy the wrong way, it can lead to a chipped tooth that no amount of flossing and brushing can fix!
Soda & Sports Drinks. Sugar is a top ingredient for both of these drinks and when you eat or drink sugar for an extended amount of time, plaque will use the sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, the protective layer of your tooth.
Alcohol, like caffeinated drinks, decreases saliva production which can lead to dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles so when you begin to warp this cavity-fighting agent with alcohol, it can lead to tooth decay or even gum disease.
Foods to Enjoy
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium and phosphorus which can prevent tooth erosion! Cheese also stimulates saliva production which helps clear away food residue. The protein in these wonderful products can also protect teeth from acids that cause cavities!
Sugarless Gum stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth which neutralizes acids and washes away cavity-causing bacteria. It’s been proven that chewing gum 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay!
Water – You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Water helps wash away sugar and acid off teeth. If you’re buying bottled water, look for the kind that contains fluoride, this is a mineral found in toothpaste and some mouthwashes that protects against tooth erosion.
Eating foods that are high in fiber such as bananas, leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and apples has been proven to lower the likelihood of tooth loss and lower your risk of gum recession. The vitamins found in these fruits and veggies help fight off cavities and are also are a great source of calcium which helps keep teeth strong.
Did you catch the pattern? Saliva is the key to lowering your risk for tooth decay! We are not going to say that even we, dental professionals, do not enjoy a little bit of sugar and alcohol here and there. The KEY is that you brush and floss or at least rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after meals and snacks to increase saliva production. This is a game-changer when it comes to oral health – Your smile will thank you!