Did you know that your teeth care what foods you eat? According to dentists at the American Dental Association, it does matter very much what you consume each day. Some foods help clean your teeth. Others layer on the plaque that will cause your teeth to decay. Some foods may fall into both good and bad categories if they are staining your teeth and eating away your enamel.
Remember the 10-Minute Rule
If you eat food that feels like it is still on your teeth twenty minutes later, you need to think about your meal. Is there a way you can make it better next time? Can you exchange sugary drinks for water? Can you eat less meat and chomp on more vegetables? Remember that plaque is building up every day, and your job is to try to slow it down or stop it. This is especially important since plaque triggers inflammation. That inflammation can damage the gums and bones. Essentially it has the power to ruin the supporting structures of your teeth. Soon you will find yourself with cavities or even missing teeth.
Fibrous Natural Foods
If you want to eat the best foods for your smile, consider the most fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. These aren’t just better for your digestion. They are also better for your mouth. They get your saliva going. This decreases the chances of bacteria that causes plaque buildup.
Did you know that food attacks your teeth long after you finish eating? The first 20 minutes are especially critical. That’s why eating these fibrous foods helps you even more. Saliva continues to be generated after you eat, washing away bacterial acids and enzymes. Containing calcium and phosphate, your saliva tries to replenish the minerals that get washed away by eating.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water has nothing in it that can hurt your teeth. Of course, it can wash your teeth while you are eating, and it can wash your teeth in between meals. It can’t take the place of toothpaste, but it sure slows down your chances of getting a cavity when you choose water instead of a sugary drink.
Chew Sugarless Gum
This, too, isn’t a substitute for brushing your teeth, but it is a good stop-gap measure. Your gum helps create saliva, which washes your teeth. The gum may also pull at tiny food particles that are stuck. These two things reduce the chances of plaque build-up.
Some foods invite tooth decay. Other foods help fight plaque buildup. Here are some foods to seek out and some to stay away from.
Eat Dairy Products
If you aren’t a vegan, that may be a good thing. The calcium in cheese and the phosphates in milk are good for your teeth. A diet that includes plain yogurt, cheese and other milk products can help put back minerals that are being lost every day when you are eating. Calcium and phosphate help protect and build back tooth enamel.
Choose Foods with Polyphenols
What are polyphenols and which foods have them? You’ll find this substance in green and black teas. Bacteria is either destroyed or reduced by these specific teas. Basically they are holding the line against the bacteria that would create acid and attack teeth.
Trust Fluoride in Your Water
While fluoride is not naturally occuring, the fact that many cities have it in the drinking water should work in your favor. Every time you make tea with that water, cook with it, or combine it with grains, you are adding fluoride to your diet. This has been proven to reduce cavities. Again, it is not a replacement for brushing your teeth, but it can help you keep all of your teeth longer. Here is Real Facts on Fluoride
Avoid These Things
So what shouldn’t you eat? Sticky foods are a big no-no. This includes everything from candies like toffee to foods like potato chips. Sweet foods are the second thing to avoid. You need to choose carrots over oreos. Sodas are another huge no-no, according to dentists. They recommend you avoid them entirely. Other dangers include acidic foods, including some that are good for you like oranges and grapefruit. You also need to watch your alcohol intake. Finally dentists advise you to get help if medications are causing dry mouth.
When you add up the ways you can help your teeth, you should feel encouraged and do everything you can to prevent tooth decay. It will save you money at the dentist, prevent tooth pain, and stop long term damage to your smile.