Whatever you put inside your mouth can certainly affect your overall health, including your dental wellbeing. If you continue to eat as you please, you may be worsening plaque buildup, tooth decay, and other dental problems.
However, there’s no need to worry. Even if there are bad foods that you need to avoid for your teeth, there are also good ones that you can happily munch on.
Your teeth and gums are all part of your body which means they also require balanced nutrition to function well. Yet, there are specific nutrients that are most beneficial for your dental health.
You can find these nutrients in the following foods:
Like other citrus fruits, strawberries are rich in vitamin C. This type of vitamin is essential for the production of collagen which is a vital protein in maintaining strong gums. With just half a cup of fresh strawberries, you can get more than 70% of the vitamin C you need for the day.
It’s not only your bones that can benefit from milk. Since milk contains calcium, it can also strengthen your teeth and protect you from gum disease. Drinking 1% nonfat or low-fat skim milk can help you gain the most calcium without all the fat.
But if you don’t have any pre-existing medical issues or fat intake-related concerns, you can drink full fat milk which has all the calcium you need.
These sweet and juicy mini fruit globes are rich with antioxidants that help fight bacteria which cause periodontal disease and inflammation. Furthermore, eating grapes shields your gums and tissues from bacterial infection and cell damage.
- Green or black tea
Both kinds of teas contain polyphenols that react with plaque bacteria. These polyphenols either kill or control bacteria to prevent them from attacking the teeth.
Depending on what type of water you use in brewing your tea, your cup of tea can also be a good source of fluoride.
Cheese is a saliva-maker and the calcium in it helps to put back the minerals that your teeth have lost through regular wear and tear.
Food is essential to life, however, if you’re not careful, what you’re putting inside your mouth may be damaging to your health as well.
Below are foods that you might not have realized are causing your teeth more harm than good:
- Salad dressing
Many of the prepared salad dressings you can find in stores contain high amounts of sugar and vinegar. Both ingredients can be tough on your tooth enamel, so make sure to brush after a meal that includes salad dressing that has vinegar and high sugar content.
- Hard candy
Hard candies are much worse than soft candies as they can push up against your gums and teeth. If you constantly eat these types of candy, it can damage your teeth and gums especially since they have highly concentrated sugar content.
- Peanut butter and jelly
Both peanut butter and jelly or jam have a sticky nature that can be quite damaging to your teeth. They can stick inside your mouth and find their way into small tooth fissures so make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly and rinse with a mouthwash after having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Is your movie not complete without a bag of popcorn on hand?
Although popcorn is a healthy snack, the thin, hard corn kernels can get stuck between your teeth. This stuck leftover popcorn can become a breeding ground for bacteria so make sure to floss after eating this movie snack.
- Carbonated soft drinks
These “thirst-quenching” drinks are actually a leading source of added sugar and empty calories. To make things worse, they also contain citric and phosphoric acid that can wear out your precious tooth enamel.
Eat with Your Dental Health in Mind
Are you guilty of eating or drinking any of the above food items?
To prevent you from ruining your dental health from the foods you eat, take note of the following tips:
- Book dental visits on time so that your dentist can run checkups and stay up-to-date with your oral health.
- Regularly have your dentist clean your teeth to prevent plaque buildup and gum disease.
- If you must, eat foods rich in sugar together with your meals as you produce more saliva during this time thereby reducing the effects of acid production.
- Limit eating snacks in between meals, and always opt for something nutritious.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once in a day.
- Drink fluoridated water to prevent tooth decay.
As long as you remain vigilant over what you eat and your dental hygiene, you’ll have more years to enjoy your pearly whites, and more reasons to flash a bright, healthy smile.
Dr. Michael Letham is the owner and dentist at 24/7 Dental and Bayside Smiles. He graduated from Sydney University in 2000 with Honours, receiving the R Morse Withycombe Prize for Proficiency in Clinical Periodontics (gum treatment). Striving to provide a modern, holistic approach to dental care that is tailored to each individual’s requirements, Mike’s focus is on being thorough and meticulous whilst being caring and compassionate.