We all know that nutrition plays a direct role in dental health, but did you know that there are also a number of foods you should avoid if you want to protect your teeth? The good news is though that there are other foods that can be very beneficial to a healthy smile.
Let’s look at the foods that you want to try and avoid first.
1. Candy (both Soft and Hard)
Soft, chewy candies like caramels not only contain a lot of sugar but they also tend to stick to your teeth which feeds the bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria in turn burns sugar to make acid and the acid can dissolve tooth enamel. Sour candies are the worst as they also contain additional acid.
Hard candies tend to dissolve more slowly in the mouth giving bacteria more time to produce enamel eating acid. Worse still, if you bite down on the candy you could easily chip a tooth.
2. Citrus Fruit and Juices
Citrus fruits, especially grapefruits and lemons, are highly acidic which we now know is very bad for tooth enamel.
Not only do carbonated soft drinks contain a lot of sugar but the acids in these drinks can harm teeth even more than the sugar content. Even diet sodas contain both citric and phosphoric acid which again can erode tooth enamel. If you really can’t live without your soda, at least drink it with a meal because eating will help to neutralize the acid.
4. Wine (Both Red and White)
We all know that wine contains acid but red wine can also stain your teeth. On top of this the tannins in wine can make your mouth dry which in turn makes your teeth sticky and this attracts more bacteria.
The carbohydrates in salty crackers convert into sugars which attract and feed the bacteria in your mouth. In addition, as you are chewing, the soggy paste produced by the breakdown of the crackers can build up in your molars and also lodge between your teeth giving the bacteria even more to feed on.
6. Coffee and Tea
Both coffee and tea can heavily stain your teeth making them look discoloured. Coffee can also make your teeth sticky which will attract food particles and bacteria.
Dr Jas Sagoo from the Perfect Smile Spa states that you don’t need to totally eliminate all of the above foods from your diet, however. Having these foods in moderation and using correct oral hygiene like regular brushing, flossing and dental check ups, can certainly limit the amount of tooth erosion.
Good Food for Your Teeth
The good news is that there are certain foods which are beneficial to having strong, healthy teeth. Let’s look at these.
1. Sugarless Gum
Chewing sugarless gum helps to clean your teeth by stimulating saliva. The saliva washes away the acid thus protecting your teeth from decay. Most sugarless gums also contain Xylitol which is an alcohol that can reduce bacteria.
We all know that drinking plenty of water is good for our health but it is also very beneficial for our teeth. Not only does water wash away the sugars and acid but it also naturally contains fluoride which protects tooth enamel.
3. Dairy Products
The calcium in dairy products helps to strengthen tooth enamel just like it helps to strengthen our bones. Most dairy products, especially cheese, also contain casein which is a protein that stabilizes and repairs tooth enamel.
4. High Fibre Foods
Foods which are high in fibre, like leafy green vegetables, are great for our teeth. When we chew these foods we produce saliva and as the foods break down they also help to scrub our teeth.
Strawberries contain malic acid which is a natural enamel whitener. In fact, you can make a tooth whitening paste at home by mixing crushed strawberries with baking soda. Spread this paste on your teeth and brush off after 5 minutes.
So take care of your teeth by eating more of the good foods mentioned above and limit the amount of sugar and acid containing foods. Your teeth will thank you for it.