Improving Your Oral Health Through a Healthy Diet
While you may already be watching what you eat to keep your body healthy — are you thinking with your teeth in mind? A poor diet can weaken your teeth, causing an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and make it more difficult for your mouth to resist infections. To ensure your smile stays shining bright, here are some diet considerations to remember:
Foods That Damage Your Teeth
Candies and Sweets
Sugar is one of the biggest enemies of a healthy smile — causing cavities, tooth decay, and gum problems. In particular, sour candies contain a different type of acid that is much tougher on your teeth. They’re also much chewier, which means they may get stuck in between your teeth for a longer period of time. If you’re craving sugar, try grabbing an apple — but if that won’t satisfy your sweet tooth, have some dark chocolate.
Although it seems like we rely on that morning cup of coffee or a nice glass of red wine at night, these liquids and other dark-colored drinks can stain our teeth. If you constantly find yourself drinking something dark, you’ll slowly but surely notice your teeth start to turn a yellowish hue, which can usually only be reversed by teeth whitening.
To keep your teeth white and bright, try to limit your coffee and red wine intake, and brush immediately after drinking so the liquid doesn’t stick to your teeth.
Bread primarily consists of starches. As you chew, your saliva breaks down this starch and turns it into sugar — which sticks in between your teeth and can cause cavities. Not all bread is off-limit however, opt for bread that is made from whole wheat, as these are less-refined and contain less added sugars.
Carbonated sodas cause plaque to build on your teeth, creating acid which attacks your tooth’s enamel. Plus, most sodas are loaded with sugar, and some are a dark color, which can also stain your teeth.
Though eating fruits is healthy for your smile, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can erode your enamel. This makes teeth more vulnerable to decay, and can also irritate any mouth sores you may have.
A good alternative to these vitamin C-rich fruits is to take a daily multivitamin, or eat them in moderation and rinse your mouth with water directly after.
Foods That Support a Healthy Smile
Milk and Dairy Products
If your mom grew up telling you to drink your milk so you can grow up with strong bones — she was right! Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, which is vital to strengthening your teeth. Some of these foods make great options:
Low or non-fat yogurts
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of any healthy diet — so long as they’re fresh. Canned fruits and vegetables often contain a high amount of sugar, which can be harmful to your health and especially your teeth.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables help to clean plaque from your teeth, and can naturally freshen your breath. Try adding these nutrient-filled fruits and vegetables to your diet to protect your gums, teeth, and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infections:
Unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices
As we mentioned earlier, whole grain options typically have a lot less refined sugar than other food choices — and they’re also great for your teeth. While carbs typically cause the formation of cavities, whole grains have complex carbohydrates that give bacteria less digestible food to grow off of.
Many of your favorite foods probably come in a whole grain option, including:
Baked tortilla chips
Bread and wraps
Phosphorous is one of the most abundant minerals in your body, and it’s also one of the most vital elements for good oral health. Eggs are one of the best sources of phosphorus and are therefore helpful when it comes to strengthening and protecting your enamel.
Nuts and Seeds
When that midday burst of hunger hits — what snack do you grab? Seeds and nuts have a significant impact on your oral health, and they’re bite-sized, making them perfect to snack on. They both work to replenish the minerals in your tooth enamel that acidic foods can remove. So, grab a handful and munch on!
Forget the dip and serve hummus at your next party, or take it to lunch for a healthy and delicious snack. Chickpeas are made from folic acid, which helps keep your mouth healthy by promoting cell growth throughout your body. Add in some cucumbers for a good dose of vitamin B and to naturally whiten your teeth, too!
Improve Your Smile at Richardson Dentistry
In addition to eating a balanced diet full of these healthy food options, it’s important to drink plenty of water, brush and floss your teeth regularly, and visit your dentist for routine cleanings.
At Richardson Dentistry, our team of skilled doctors and friendly staff are dedicated to accommodating all your preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dental needs. It is our goal to offer a comfortable and relaxing experience that you can look forward to. Get in touch with us to schedule your consultation today. (972) 218-0078