We all know that regular brushing and flossing helps your teeth stay healthy by getting rid of the food particles, sugar, and bacteria that form plaque. Accumulated plaque produces acids that can damage tooth enamel, as well as cause cavities and different kinds of dental and gum diseases. But not many know that certain foods can also help your teeth stay healthy and white. Here is a list of foods you should consume and those you should avoid in order to save yourself some unnecessary visits to the dentist.
WHAT TO EAT?
Some of the best foods you can eat to keep your mouth healthy are meats, nuts and different kinds of dairy products. These foods are rich in calcium and phosphorus that remineralize your teeth and protect the enamel. Calcium also protects you from different types of gum and jaw diseases. To avoid artery clogging from whole milk and fatty cheese, you can opt for the low-fat or fat-free versions. If you’re lactose intolerant or don’t eat animal products, you should eat green veggies that are high in calcium.
Specific compounds in black and green tea can slow down the growth of bacteria that are responsible for cavities and gum diseases. You should try rinsing your mouth with tea for one minute, and you will notice that you have less plaque than when you rinse with water. Make sure not to overdo it though, because some types of tea are known to stain teeth.
Other foods you can eat are fruits such as crunchy apples and pears, and firm, crunchy veggies. These foods are rich in water that neutralizes the effect of sugar. They also stimulate the production of saliva, which washes away any leftover food particles and acids that are harmful to your teeth.
WHAT TO AVOID?
Even though citrus fruits are generally good for you, they are not so good for your teeth. Highly acidic juices, such as those in lemons or grapefruits, are especially harmful because acids erode tooth enamel.
As you probably know, you should avoid candy, especially sticky and chewy treats. Taffy and caramel will stick to and between your teeth and stay there for a while, which will leave enough time for the sugar to do its damage.
Also, try to avoid red wine and black coffee. Red wine will dry out your mouth making it easier for the stains to form. Coffee consumption is on the rise worldwide, especially in Australia, where it has even surpassed tea. If you’re an Aussie who just can’t give up coffee, you can always opt for a whitening treatment at your local dentist in Sydney who will make your “pearly whites” actually pearly white. However, if you can live without coffee and wine, by all means, do so.
It also makes sense to avoid sugary soft drinks, but a little-known fact is that the acids from carbonated drinks can be more harmful than the sugar itself. Therefore, even the diet versions can erode your teeth over time. If you’re a soft drink lover, then you can try drinking them during a meal instead of sipping them on their own, because the food will neutralize the acids from the drink.
WHAT ABOUT CHEWING GUM?
Actually, chewing a sugar-free gum can be beneficial for your teeth. It can help dislodge any food particles stuck between your teeth and boost your production of saliva that will neutralize different mouth acids. However, if you have some jaw problems or feel some pain in your jaws, you should probably avoid chewing gums, but otherwise, chew away.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up any of these foods and drinks to have a beautiful smile. Be moderate with harmful foods, brush and floss regularly, and your teeth will be healthy and white for many more years to come.