It’s common knowledge that what we eat will affect our health. However, our eating habits impact our teeth as well. A healthy diet helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If your body is nutrient deficient, your mouth is more susceptible to infections, which may lead to periodontal disease.
Here are some tips on choosing healthy foods that will help you maintain your beautiful smile:
- Dairy: Products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are full of calcium and protein which help strengthen teeth. Avoid products that are high in sugar and that include sugar additives.
- Lean Proteins: Poultry, fish, and eggs have an abundance of phosphorus and protein, which is essential for your teeth.
- Fruits and Vegetables: A diet rich in fiber is important for your teeth. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water which balances the natural sugars they contain. Eating fruits and vegetables also helps increase saliva production, which allows your mouth to wash away harmful acids and particles from your teeth.
- Nuts: Nuts are a healthy choice because they are high in protein and minerals but low in carbohydrates. Foods that are high in carbs increase the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that lead to cavities.
- Sugarless Gum: Similar to fruits and vegetables, chewing sugarless gum will increase the flow of saliva in your mouth which will protect your teeth against harmful acids. To get the most benefit, look for sugarless gums with xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener that has been shown to help reduce the amount of acid in the mouth.
The following foods should be eaten in moderation or they should be excluded all together:
- Hard Candies: As we mentioned earlier, sugar is one of the biggest culprits to your teeth. Candies have a very high sugar content making them very damaging to your teeth. Biting on hard candy also puts you at risk for a broken or chipped tooth.
- Citrus: Although eating fruits is good for your oral health, citrus fruits are extremely acidic and they can cause enamel erosion.
- Sticky Foods: We often fail to realize that healthy snacks such as dried fruits, have their down side. Due to their sticky consistency, they often get stuck in your teeth. It’s important to floss and brush after eating sticky foods to remove residue from your teeth. If you aren’t able to floss and brush, simply rinse your mouth several times to loosen any particles from your teeth.
- Crunchy Foods: Crunchy foods such as popcorn and potato chips are filled with starchy particles that can easily get trapped between your teeth.
- Sugary Drinks: High fructose drinks and sodas (including diet sodas) are often very acidic and they are loaded with sugar. Many of these drinks include high levels of caffeine that will dry out your mouth as well. Avoid drinking sugary drinks and soda and opt instead for a sports drink that is low in sugar.