According to the American Dental Association, one of the first areas to decline when your diet is less than ideal is your oral health. So when it comes to the health of your teeth, you really are what you eat.
Since March is National Nutrition Month, we want to mention some foods that are good for your oral health and a few that you should avoid.
When it comes to drinks, water is the best choice for maintaining oral health. Fluoridated water holds the top spot because fluoride can help strengthen teeth against acid attacks. Drinking water after snacks or meals is a calorie and sugar free way to rinse away remaining particles and prevent them from sitting on your teeth and causing harm.
Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are low in sugar and high in protein and calcium which help to strengthen your teeth. Yogurt is also a good choice because it contains probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, that help to crowd out the bacteria that cause cavities. Just be sure to check the yogurt label to make sure it doesn’t contain a lot of added sugar.
Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are high in phosphorus and protein which also help to strengthen your teeth.
This one is probably a no brainer, but fruits and veggies are another great choice for your oral health. Although fruits do contain sugar, both fruits and vegetables have a high water content that helps to flush contents out of the mouth and also balances the sugar contained in fruit. The chewing action that comes along with eating fruits and vegetables is also beneficial to your oral health by stimulating the gums and increasing saliva flow to clear bacteria from the teeth.
Nuts are a great choice for a low sugar snack that benefits both oral and overall health. They contain both calcium and protein which we mentioned earlier help to strengthen your teeth and are also low in carbs, which activate the acid-producing bacteria that leads to tooth decay or cavities.
The following foods I talk about have harmful effects to your oral health and should be consumed in moderation.
Citric fruits and juices have a high acid content that can erode tooth enamel which causes teeth to be more susceptible to decay over time.
Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea, can dry out your mouth which is an unhealthy state for the mouth to be in because saliva is the body’s natural way to rid the mouth of bacteria. Aside from leaving stain on the teeth, another downside to drinking coffee and tea is the added sugar that is hard to resist adding in with these drinks.
Pop and sports drinks are very high in sugar and often in acidity also, both of which are very harmful to your teeth.
Sticky foods, such as dried fruits, tend to sit on your teeth longer than other types of food and get stuck in the crevices of your teeth which can make them more susceptible to decay.
Rinsing with water after eating or drinking these potentially harmful foods is crucial to help flush away their harmful effects. Brushing and flossing after meals is the best way to ensure your enjoyment doesn’t lead to negative effects.
Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile, so I hope this information helps you understand the dental pros and cons of your nutrition choices.
Remember, you really are what you eat!
This photo shows the impact certain drinks have on eggs which is comparable to how they can impact the enamel of your teeth. Click the link below to see our full experiement.
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