What you eat and drink has a direct affect on your health.
The worst food for teeth is that which creates an environment in which the bacteria that cause tooth decay can thrive. Sugary foods, acidic foods, and foods that stick to and between your teeth are among the worst for your dental health. Sugary and acidic drinks can also harm teeth, and many drinks, like tea, coffee, or red wine, can stain teeth. The best drinks for teeth are those which are low in acids and sugar.
What Foods Can Harm Your Teeth?
Acidic foods, like citrus fruits, can damage your teeth because the vitamin C found in these fruits is an acid compound that can eat away at tooth enamel. Lemon and grapefruit are the two biggest culprits; oranges are less damaging, and many fortified orange juices are even less harmful still because they contain calcium, a mineral that helps teeth repair damaged enamel. Other acidic foods include pickles of all kinds.
Other foods that can contribute to tooth decay include sugary foods, especially candy. The sugar in candy encourages the bacteria that cause tooth decay to grow. Sticky and chewy candies, like caramel or toffee, are a concern because bits of these foods can cling to the crevices on the surface of teeth and can stick between teeth. Hard candies are a concern because they flood the mouth with sugar for several minutes, creating a window during which mouth bacteria can flourish. Foods like crackers and cookies also feed oral bacteria, because they begin to break down into sugary compounds as soon as you chew them up, and they tend to stick to teeth.
Drinks can be bad for your teeth, too. Soda, even diet soda, contains acids like phosphoric and citric acid that can damage tooth enamel. Sports drinks and energy drinks also contain acids that damage teeth. Drinks like coffee, tea, and wine stain teeth.
What Foods Are Good for Your Teeth?
You can protect your teeth by eating unhealthy foods in moderation, and eating plenty of foods that are healthy for teeth. The best food for teeth encourages the flow of saliva and cleans the teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can clean the teeth and flood the mouth with saliva, to neutralize acids and reduce damage to enamel. Water and milk are two of the best drinks for teeth; water contains fluoride that strengthens teeth, and washes sugar and acid out of the mouth. Milk contains the calcium your body needs for strong teeth and bones. Cheese and other diary products also contain calcium for strong teeth.
High-fiber foods, like leafy vegetables, can scrub your teeth clean as you chew them, and encourage the production of saliva that protects your teeth from acid. Strawberries are a delicious way to whiten teeth. Follow these tips for dental health:
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Get regular dental checkups at Vita Dental
- Eat a variety of foods, and eat all foods in moderation
- Avoid sugary or starchy snacks