Foods that Help & Foods that Hurt Your Teeth
Food! We gotta eat it to live. Luckily, it tastes so, so good! But let’s consider for a moment which foods help or hurt our dental health. It turns out there are some surprising food heroes and villains. Let’s start with the obvious.
Foods that Hurt Our Dental Health
Here’s a list of the worst offenders and why they’re detrimental to your dental health.
Carbonated and other sugary drinks, including fruit juices can work to break down the enamel that acts as a protective coating on your pearly whites. Often sodas have acids which many people expose their teeth to on a daily basis. Over time this can have a big impact on oral health. Alcohol fits into this category, too, because of its high sugar content.
Sticky or chewy candy such as taffy, caramels, and marshmallows can crowd into crevices while you are chewing on them, packing them into places your tongue can’t reach. Long after you’ve savored the last bit of flavor from your favorite candy, microscopic sugars are combining with bacteria in your mouth to break down your tooth enamel.
Cookies and other pastries are obviously going to discourage dental health because they often have a high sugar content. But crackers, pretzels and bread are surprising offenders even when they don’t have a high sugar content. The highly refined starches such as white and wheat flour can easily stick to your teeth and can be even harder to dislodge than candy, because flour and water mixed together forms a sort of glue on the surfaces of your teeth.
Fast food and highly processed foods like frozen dinner meals are dental health offenders. Not only are they terrible for our cardiovascular health, they don’t give our bodies that nutrients that we need to maintain dental health. Our teeth need vitamins and minerals to maintain strength, which is best found in foods in their most natural state.
Food Heroes for Dental Health
Now here’s a list of foods that encourage dental health.
Unsweetened dairy, such as milk and yogurt contain calcium as well as low acidity, so these foods don’t threaten to break down tooth structure in the way carbonated drinks do.
Obviously fresh fruits provide essential vitamins and antioxidants to build strong bones and teeth and maintain your cardiovascular system. And these are the primary benefits you’ll gain from consuming them. But fiber and seeds in some fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, can also aid in removing plaque as you eat it.
Fresh vegetables contain vitamins and essential minerals that promote dental health. They are also naturally low in sugar, so getting a chunk of broccoli stuck between your front teeth won’t cause near as much damage as a taffy. Fiber in vegetables require more chewing, which produces saliva. Saliva neutralizes cavity-promoting bacteria, and as mentioned before, fiber works to clean your teeth and massage your gums.
Water is a great way to flush food and bacteria out of your mouth and down your throat. Drink plenty of it throughout each day to keep your gums and teeth hydrated and to promote saliva production.
Nuts and seeds, such as sesame seeds are high in important nutrients and antioxidant compounds that can boost your tooth strength. The fiber in them helps to slough off plaque, making your next cleaning that much easier.
Isn’t it amazing how eating a healthy diet improves every system in your body? Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and be careful about consuming sugar. Take care of your teeth through a healthy diet and lifestyle. So be smart, take care of your teeth through good nutrition and oral hygiene.
Amy Roskelley is owner and creator of the blog, Super Healthy Kids! She has 3 kids, ages 14, 12, and 10, who enjoy being outside in the beautiful mountains of Utah. Photo above located originally on http://onecharmingparty.com.