We all strive for good oral health, but are we really aware of what foods are beneficial and what foods are harmful for our teeth? What we eat and how often we eat it can play an important role in cavity prevention and overall maintenance of good oral health. Changes start in your mouth the minute you eat certain foods. Bacteria converts sugars into acids and it is that acid that starts to decay our tooth enamel. Lets take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly foods for our teeth.
THE GOOD AND FAVORITE FOODS:
The best food choices for our mouth and tooth health include milk, cheeses, plain yogurt, poultry and other meats and nuts. All of these choices provide us with calcium and phosphorus to protect tooth enamel by remineralizing. This is a natural process where after having been removed by acids, minerals are redeposited back into the tooth enamel. Foods that have a high water content are also beneficial, not only to stimulate the production of saliva, but also to dilute the sugars that are going into our mouths. These foods include apples, pears and all kinds of vegetables. Fiber rich foods have a detergent effect in mouths. Through the use of such foods, one can try to minimize the acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus foods or lemons by mixing them with a larger meal. As far as good beverages, fluoridated water is always the best, along with unsweetened teas and good old fashioned milk. It is also interesting to note that green and black teas, which contain polyphenols, interfere with plaque bacteria and actually kill, or at least suppress, bacteria. This prevents the bacteria from growing and producing that ugly acid that attacks our teeth. Foods with fluoride are very beneficial to our teeth as well. These high fluoride foods include powdered juices, powdered cereals and seafood.
THE BAD AND THE UGLY FOODS:
The list is long for bad food choices for our oral health. Let’s just name a few of them. Candy, mints and especially hard candies, cookies, potato chips, cakes, muffins and pies. One can also add french fries, bananas, dried fruit and raisins to that list. Even cough drops can cause a lot of damage to our teeth, since they contain so much sugar. These foods not only contain lots of sugar but anything that sticks to our teeth provides a loving environment for bacteria to grow. Of course, one does not have to cut these foods out of one’s diet completely, though most should be consumed in moderation, or with the combination of preventative measures, such as drinking acidic beverages through a straw to avoid contact with teeth. If you must indulge in sweets be sure to brush after eating to remove any stickiness and residue from your teeth. Starchy and sugary foods are the worst things for our teeth. Bad beverages to steer clear of include all the high sugar drinks such as soft drinks, sweetened teas and lemonades. And remember, enjoy your coffee, but try to refrain from adding too much cream and sugar. Gum can be really good for our teeth, except when it contains sugar. If you love to chew gum, make sure it is sugarless gum and ask your dentist in Phoenix if it is actually considered to be beneficial, since it can be helpful in removing food particles and generating saliva. Following these good and bad food tips and regularly seeing your local Phoenix dentist to maintain good oral health, will keep you on the road to a lifetime of good teeth and a healthy life.