The way that we choose to eat can affect us in many ways, including our dental health. Some foods can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, while others can help to fight plaque. Let’s discuss some of the best and worst foods for dental health so you can make choices to benefit your teeth and gums.
Foods to Avoid
Did you know that some foods can actually feed the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth and may cause cavities and gums disease? Sugary and starchy foods can react with the bacteria to produce acid that can erode your tooth enamel and irritate your gums. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid foods high in sugar and starches as well as sticky foods like candy that can keep sugars on your teeth for longer and increase the risks.
Foods that Help Your Teeth
The great news is that there are also foods that can help your teeth and gums. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are a good source of calcium and phosphates that help to remineralize your tooth enamel. Fiber rich or crunchy fruits and veggies are also a great choice because eating them can help to clean your teeth and massage your gums which promotes saliva production, your body’s natural way of remineralizing your teeth, and balancing the pH environment of your mouth. Some fruits can have natural teeth whitening properties as well, such as strawberries and pineapples.
Choosing foods and drinks sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar may also be helpful for the health of your teeth because xylitol has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth over time, which may reduce the risk of cavities forming.
What You Drink Matters Too
Although best and worst foods for dental health are important, it’s also important to drink plenty of fluids to wash away food debris and encourage sufficient saliva flow. When choosing drinks, make sure to avoid sodas and juices that contain high amounts of sugar and citric acids that can be hard on your tooth enamel. Watch out for drinks like coffee, too, that may stain your teeth. Water, milk, teas, and sugar-free drinks can all be healthy choices.
Good Dental Hygiene is Key
As helpful as it is to learn about the best and worst foods for dental health, it’s equally important to be diligent in cleaning your teeth after you eat, regardless of what you choose to nourish yourself with. Make sure to brush your teeth well after each meal, floss daily, and see your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and exam to keep your smile its healthiest and brightest. When you visit your dentist, it’s also a great time to ask them about the best and worst foods for dental health. They may have more recommendations specifically tailored to your personal lifestyle and dietary needs.
Call our Omaha Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.