Prevention is the best way to keep your smile white and healthy. Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth is the key to good oral health. However, what you put in your body can also have an effect on your oral health. The food you eat can have a huge impact on your smile.
If consumed in moderation, most foods are generally harmless. It is when these foods are consumed in excessive amounts that they can pose a threat to your oral health. Here is a list of some of the worst foods for your teeth:
While citrus fruits do have health benefits, such as vitamin C, some of them are highly acidic. Fruits such as grapefruit and lemon juice have a high amount of acid and can erode your tooth enamel. The least acidic of all fruits is the orange. Many orange juice brands have been fortified with teeth-friendly calcium and vitamin D.
Chewy candy like taffy and caramel tend to get stuck to and in between your teeth. Some candy can get stuck to teeth for an extended period of time, allowing bacteria to feed off of these sugary deposits. These bacteria create acid in your mouth that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. Candies that are chewy and sour pose even more of a threat to your teeth because they contain their own erosive acids, in addition to the sugar and bacteria.
Hard candy such as Jolly Ranchers, dissolve slowly and saturate in your mouth for several minutes. This gives bacteria more time to produce erosive acids. Most hard candies are flavored with citric acid, making them even more harmful. Some hard candies could cause you to chip or crack a tooth when biting down on one.
Not only are sodas filled with harmful sugars that can cause cavities, they are also filled with acids that can harm teeth even more than sugar. Diet sodas are also bad for your teeth as they contain both citric and phosphoric acid.
While sports drinks may seem like a good alternative to soda, this is not the case. These kinds of drinks are acidic and just as harmful on teeth. In a study done at the University of Iowa, Lemon-Lime Gatorade was more harsh on tooth enamel than any other soda.
Now that you know what foods are bad for your teeth, here is a list of foods that are good for your teeth and can help reverse dental damage:
Sugar-free gum helps clean your mouth by producing saliva. Saliva helps wash away acids in your mouth produced by bacteria.
Water helps rinse away harmful bacteria and contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion.
Milk and other dairy products are a primary source of calcium. Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and strengthens tooth enamel. Cheese contains a protein called casein that plays an important role in repairing tooth enamel.
Leafy greens and other high-fiber foods are good for teeth and help your digestion. Eating spinach or beans requires a lot of chewing, causing your mouth to produce extra saliva and the food itself scrubs your teeth. It’s kind of like putting your teeth through a car wash.
If you eat a healthy diet, you are most likely already eating foods that are beneficial for your teeth. If you find that you are consuming a large amount of candy or sugary drinks, you may want to cut back on your intake to prevent damaging your teeth.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Lakeway, Texas. Trisha believes oral health is very important and wants to know what the best and worst foods are for your teeth.