If you’re asking yourself which is the worst and best foods for your teeth and gums, you’re probably already aware that your diet plays a huge role in maintaining your oral hygiene. Certain foods and beverages may also impact your healthy mouth and teeth. Many foods and drinks can lead to more plaque and damaged teeth and your healthy gums. Learning what to eat to prevent tooth decay can help keep your teeth from decaying.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), if you have a poor diet lacking nutrition, you’ll often see the first signs in your mouth.
Why You Should Care About What You Eat and Drink?
Some of the least healthy foods and beverages you consume are harmful to your teeth, include the following:
When you eat sugary foods or sip sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, the hard surface of your tooth. Most carbonated soft drinks, including diet soda, are acidic and therefore, bad for your teeth. Caffeinated beverages, such as colas can also dry out your mouth. If you do consume soft drinks, try to drink alongside a cup of water.
Who doesn’t love the nice, satisfying crunch of a potato chip? Unfortunately potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.
The truth is that frequent exposures to acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time. So even though a a squeeze of lemon or lime can turn a simple glass of water into a fun beverage, it’s not always the best choice for your mouth. Citric fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores. Make sure to drink plenty of plain water.
In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.
They sound healthy, but sugar is a top ingredient for many sports and energy drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but unnecessary in most cases. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar or drink water.
Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. People who drink excessively may find their saliva flow is reduced over time, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Heavy alcohol use also increases your risk for mouth cancer.
You’d be surprised at how many people think ice is good for their teeth. It’s made of water, after all, and doesn’t contain any sugar or other additives. But chewing on hard substances can leave your teeth vulnerable to a dental emergency and damage enamel
When it comes to picking healthy snacks, many people put dried fruit at the top of the list. But many dried fruits are sticky. Sticky foods can damage your teeth since they tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. If you find yourself eating dried fruits or trail mix often, make sure to rinse with water after and to brush and floss carefully.
Alternatives to Bad Foods and Drinks
The minute you put food or a sip of a drink into your mouth, your saliva goes to work breaking the substance down and preparing your body to digest it. The bacteria in your mouth convert dietary sugar into acids to break down your teeth’s enamel. The more you consume sugary foods and drinks, the more you leave your mouth exposed to decay-causing acids.
So start asking yourself, “What are the best foods for my teeth or best drinks for my teeth?” Read on to find the answer.
Water (particularly fluoridated water) is the best choice, as it’s a primary component of saliva. In addition, it works as a final rinsing agent for food and sugary drinks.
The top choices include cheeses, chicken, or other meats and milk because there’s evidence that they protect tooth enamel with calcium and phosphorus.
These are needed to remineralize teeth, which means minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids. Foods with vitamins A, C, and D, as well as calcium and phosphorus, are particularly good. These include beef, eggs, fish, potatoes, spinach, fortified cereals, tofu, leafy green vegetables, beans, whole grains, and poultry.
Both black and green teas contain compounds called polyphenols, which slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease. They also help with bad breath. Green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens typically find their way onto any healthy foods list. They’re full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including possibly treating gum disease in pregnant women, according to MedlinePlus. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad or throw some kale on a pizza. You can also try adding some greens to a smoothie.
Chewing celery (or apples or carrots) produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria Streptococcus mutans that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.
Schedule A Consultation At Lomita Torrance Dental Office Today
Dr. Teboul is best periodontal dentist in Torrance, CA. If you think you might be suffering from gum disease or if your gums are inflamed, bleeding, or sore, schedule an appointment with us immediately. We even offer customized sedation options for our patients in Lomita, Torrance who experience anxiety about going to the dentist. We want all of our patients to feel totally relaxed and comfortable during their visits with us.
Gum disease can cause tremendous harm to your overall health and should be treated as soon as possible. After you call, the first step will be for us to setup a time for you to come into our office, meet Dr. Teboul and his experience staff at Lomita Torrance Dental Office at Torrance, CA and discuss your concerns and questions with him. From there, Dr. Teboul will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your needs and get you back on the road towards optimal health.