Every aspect of your health is affected by what you eat, including your oral health. The Wicker Park Dental team in Chicago, Illinois, recommends that you keep an eye on your diet and eat foods that are both good for you and not harmful to your teeth.
We all know that sugary drinks and snacks are bad for your teeth and increase your risk for cavities, but there are many other foods that can have a negative effect on your teeth and gums over time.
Here are some of the best and worst foods for your oral health.
Here are the best foods for good oral health
There are a number of foods that can support long-term dental and gum health, including:
Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, keep your teeth and gums healthy. Consuming fiber-rich foods increases saliva production. Saliva breaks down the sugars, starches, and acids in foods that can erode your teeth.
Additionally, saliva contains particles of phosphate and calcium that help restore minerals lost in the mouth.
The calcium in milk, cheese, and plain yogurt also stimulates the production of saliva to replace minerals in your teeth and rebuild your teeth’s protective enamel.
Foods with fluoride
Drinking water contains fluoride, which helps protect teeth. Fluoride can also be found in powdered juices, dehydrated soups, and poultry and seafood products. Be aware of the sugar content in these same products to get optimal results.
Both black and green tea contain polyphenols, a substance that can kill bacteria on your teeth and prevent them from growing. Additionally, the water you use for making the tea could contain fluoride, making it an even more effective cavity-fighter.
Using sugar-free gum after meals is a good alternative to brushing if you don’t have access to a toothbrush. When you chew gum, you remove food particles from between your teeth and in your mouth.
The worst foods for your oral health
To maintain good oral health, you should limit or avoid certain foods in addition to sugary foods and drinks, including:
Your teeth’s enamel can be prematurely eroded by acidic foods like lemons, oranges, and pickles. While it’s okay to eat these foods occasionally, it is best to limit how much you consume in order to protect your oral health.
While starchy products like bread taste good, they can also get caught in your teeth. Even if you brush and floss regularly, you might not be able to remove all of these particles effectively and can end up with cavities.
Carbonated beverages contain high levels of sugar, but they also contain acids that damage your teeth. Drinking a lot of soda and other carbonated beverages can damage your enamel, so you should limit your intake and use a straw when you can.
Alcohol can dry out your mouth and decrease the amount of saliva you produce to flush out food particles between your teeth. Certain medications can also have the same effect.
The good news is that there are products that you can use to treat persistent dry mouth. At Urban Smiles Dental, we can tell you all about them and recommend one that’s right for you.
You are more likely to chip or break your teeth when you eat hard foods, like candy and pretzels. Moreover, hard foods take longer to chew and dissolve, so they can produce more cavity-causing bacteria.
Coffee not only dulls your teeth and stains them brown but also attracts bacteria and food particles that can lead to cavities.
The discoloration can be treated with professional teeth whitening, but if you continue to drink coffee every day, the stains will return. To keep your smile bright and healthy, it’s better to drink less coffee and more water.
Don’t skip out on regular teeth cleanings
No matter what you eat or how often your brush is, the best way to protect your teeth is through professional teeth cleanings at Urban Smiles Dental.
Teeth cleanings help to remove the bacteria and plaque that clings to your teeth. Plaque and its hardened form (tartar) cause cavities in your teeth and can potentially irritate your gums.
Our team recommends scheduling routine cleanings every six months in addition to improving your diet to protect and preserve your oral health.
Schedule a visit to have your teeth cleaned today by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.