The foods you eat can have a significant effect on your smile, although we don’t often think of healthy diets as a tool to promote our oral health. Some foods can give your smile a boost, while others have the potential to damage your teeth. Patients should know what items to eat for a healthy smile and which ones to avoid, in addition to brushing and flossing at home and seeing a family dentist for care at least twice a year.
Foods to favor
Fruits and vegetables – These nutritional superstars benefit so many aspects of your health, including your oral health. Leafy greens are particularly beneficial because of their high calcium content as well as having loads of B vitamins that can offer some protection against gum disease. Celery can clear away bacteria from the teeth, and fibrous things like carrots and apples help to stimulate saliva production and can be good choices to eat at the end of a meal.
Cheese and yogurt – Both of these items are chock full of calcium and protein. Furthermore, a 2013 study found that cheese reduced acidity in the mouth and provided a certain level of protection against tooth decay. Keep in mind that plain yogurt without added sweeteners or sugar is the best choice for your oral health.
Almonds – These tasty nuts are another good source of calcium and protein, and they have limited sugar too.
Foods to avoid
Sweets (and processed carbs) – Your family dentist has probably already told you to limit your consumption of sweet treats and for good reason. The sugary residue they leave behind can provide a feast for damaging oral bacteria. When you do indulge in candy or other sweets, you should be sure to at least rinse out your mouth with water afterward to remove any remaining sugar. Even processed foods that are high in simple starches that are easily broken down into sugar can contribute to this problem.
Soda – Sodas are highly acidic and can contribute to enamel erosion. When you do drink sodas, use a straw to limit the liquid’s direct contact with the teeth.
Our well-informed staff can give you more guidance on the ways your diet affects your oral health. At your next visit to our office, be sure to ask any nutrition-related questions you may have.