How to Grocery Shop for a Cavity-Free Diet

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You only get one set of teeth in life, so it makes sense to do everything you can to preserve the health of your teeth so that they can last for many years to come. The best thing you can do to protect your dental health is to brush regularly and get a MN dental cleaning once or twice per year, as recommended by your dentist. But what else can you do to protect your teeth?

Besides cleaning them regularly, you should also be careful about the foods and beverages that you consume every day. Some foods are more harmful than others for your teeth and for your overall health, while others can be very beneficial. Below are a few dietary tips to help you keep your teeth in good shape.

Eat Foods That Are High in Calcium

One of the most important nutrients for good dental health is calcium. Your teeth are primarily composed of calcium, so you need to consume plenty of foods that are rich in calcium. Here are some foods loaded with calcium that you should be stocking up on every time you head to the grocery store:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Chicken
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is also excellent for preserving your teeth. Water helps to rinse away the sugars and sticky foods that the bacteria in your mouth feed on. As the bacteria digest the food residue in your mouth, they create acids which damage your teeth. So upping your water intake can help to rinse away the food source for these bacteria, thereby reducing the acid levels that they produce.

Water is also necessary for proper body hydration, and this is necessary for your mouth to produce enough saliva. Saliva also acts to clean your teeth naturally, washing away bits of food, sugars and acids that tend to stick to your teeth.

If your tap water at home is safe and you don’t mind the taste, then just drink tap. But if not, then buying bottled water at the grocery store isn’t a bad idea, especially when you consider that drinking extra water every day can prolong the life of your teeth and ultimately reduce your dental bills.

Buy Produce with High Water Content

Besides drinking water as a beverage, you should also load up on fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in water. Fresh fruits and veggies—besides being a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber—are filled with water, and this water content helps your body stay hydrated and produce saliva, as discussed above.

Here are some excellent sources of water-filled fruits and veggies:

  • Watermelon
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapples
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce

Naturally Sugar-Free Snacks and Beverages

Since sugar is one of the primary food sources for those nasty bacteria that ruin your teeth, you want to reduce the amount of sugary foods and drinks that you consume every day. Sodas, juices and sugary fruit or energy drinks tend to have high amounts of sugars, but their sugar-free versions are not always much better for your teeth because they tend to have high amounts of acid in them. Naturally sugar-free drinks, however, are a better choice. These include water, milk and unsweetened tea.

Likewise, sugar-free versions of junk foods like candies and cookies are not much better on your teeth than their sugary cousins, since they often contain high levels of other sweeteners or other substances that are harmful for your teeth directly or that still serve as food sources for your mouth’s bacteria.

Instead, stick with naturally sugar-free snacks, such as carrots and celery sticks, nuts and seeds or even beef jerky. Sugar-free chewing gum is also recommended, and several brands have actually been clinically tested and shown to improve dental health.

Taking care of your teeth is primarily about good dental hygiene: regular brushing, using floss and mouthwash, rinsing away foods and beverages with water between meals and staying well-hydrated. However, your dietary choices of foods and beverages can also have a significant impact. So follow these tips above the next time you take a trip to the grocery store. Stock up on teeth-friendly foods, drink tons of water and avoid sugary foods, and your teeth will last much longer than they would otherwise.