Your body is complicated, with a lot of different parts. When you take care of your body, it runs like a well-oiled machine. The two most important things you can do to help your body function at optimal capacity are exercise and pay attention to what you eat. The foods you put into your body play a critical role in maintaining good oral health.
The foods you select and the frequency in which you consume them impact your general health and the health of your teeth and gums. To maintain good oral health, you should avoid sugary sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and snacks with little to no nutritional value. When you consume too many of these items, you are more prone to tooth decay.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat?” If the food you consume is one of the most critical factors in your overall health and good overall health, it is also true for your teeth and gums. When you consume lots of sugary and starchy foods, you are feeding your teeth and your body. And though those items might taste good, the aftertaste and aftereffects aren’t quite so delightful.
If you love your teeth, this list of 10 facts about food and your teeth will be imperative in helping you maintain good oral health.
Check out this list of 10 facts regarding the best and worst foods for your teeth.
1. Water is the best beverage for your teeth. When you drink plenty of water, not only do you keep your body properly hydrated, but you also strengthen your teeth, keep your mouth clean, and fight dry mouth.
2. Speaking of water, fluoridated drinking water helps your teeth. Fluoride can help harden the enamel on your teeth, which in turn helps protect your teeth from cavities. If you do not have local fluoridated water, talk to the First Dental Associates team about fluoride supplements.
3. Though water is good for your teeth, chewing on ice is not. Chewing on hard substances such as ice can damage your tooth enamel over time.
4. Fruit juices, especially those from acidic fruits like lemon or lime, can irritate mouth sores. So if you like to add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water, it is acceptable to do so as long as you pay attention to how the inside of your mouth feels. If you have a sore such as a canker or cold sore, it is best to abstain from these natural additives until after the sore has healed.
5. Carrots are not only good for your eyes, but they are good for your teeth and oral health too. Carrots contain plenty of vitamin A, which can help build tooth enamel. So if you are hungry and looking for a snack, grab some carrot sticks. Raw carrots work much like natural toothbrushes and are an excellent mid-day snack.
6. Some of the best foods for your teeth include fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, dairy products such as milk, plain yogurt, and cheese, black and green teas, sugar-free gum, and foods that have been enriched with fluoride.
7. Regarding those fiber-rich foods, fiber can help increase the production of saliva in your mouth. Saliva contains bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphate, which neutralize plaque acids and can help repair early tooth damage and decay. This means that saliva production can help you maintain good oral health.
8. Consumption of popcorn can increase your chances of developing gum disease (periodontitis and gingivitis). Husks can get stuck in the spaces between your gums and teeth. While it makes sense that husks might get stuck, and we have all likely experienced this, it might seem counterintuitive that popcorn can be bad for us. After all, popcorn is a whole grain that provides roughage that your body needs in your daily diet. Further, popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories.
So if you want to enjoy popcorn the next time you go to the movies, go ahead and do so. But make sure you take time when you get home to floss and get any pesky kernels from between your teeth. And if the flossing doesn’t work, try an interdental brush to get those husks out and prevent gum infection.
9. That coffee that you rely on to start your day might not help you maintain good oral health. Though coffee provides a much-needed caffeine boost for many of us at the start of our day, and though coffee in and of itself is low calorie, the sugars and coffee creamers we add to it aren’t so good for us. Further, caffeinated coffee and tea can cause dry mouth and can stain your teeth. So if you choose to continue your coffee routine, be sure to drink plenty of water and get in your brushing twice per day.
10. It is possible to celebrate the holidays with tooth-friendly foods. Though you may think the holidays are for unhealthy foods that are bad for your teeth, this doesn’t need to be the case. Sure, you might want to cut back on those candy canes at Christmas and the Peeps and jelly beans at Easter (we won’t even get into the details on Halloween at this point). Still, the rest of the foods you consume at these meal-focused holidays can be useful for your oral health and good for your body. And if you are a chocolate lover, there are healthy dark chocolate bark recipes out there!
No matter what efforts we take to maintain good oral health, we can’t do it all independently. There are many benefits to visiting a family dentist, and one of the biggest is the ability to get professional cleanings and oral assessments twice per year. Contact us at (781) 423-8138 or request an appointment on our website.
We look forward to talking to you and discussing the foods and drinks you can consume and steps you can take to ensure you have good oral health for life.