Can the type of food you eat affect the health of your teeth? You better believe it! When it comes to different categories of food, some are better for your oral health than others. Let’s face it. It’s downright difficult to completely avoid food that might not be optimal for your teeth.
The key to eating the most beneficial items for your teeth is learning to identify “good” food vs. “bad” food. This helps you make smart choices. Don’t worry too much if you occasionally choose to eat something that’s in the “not so good” category. Just make sure to brush and floss afterward.
Let’s start with food that is good for your teeth…
Fruits and Vegetables – especially the crunchy type that is high in fiber. Not only are high-fiber fruits and vegetables filled with essential nutrients, but these items also take effort to chew. The chewing helps clean your teeth and generates saliva that helps remove harmful bacteria from your mouth.
Milk, cheese, and other calcium-rich dairy products. Food and beverages that contain a high level of calcium and other nutrients help keep your teeth strong and healthy. Teeth need vitamins and minerals to keep them resistant to decay and to keep them durable for a lifetime.
Water. Water might not be food, but it’s something that is important for your dental health. When it comes to beverages, water is an excellent option. It can be used to quench your thirst and to wash away food particles left in your mouth after eating. Also, many tap water supplies in the United States contain added fluoride which helps keep teeth strong and healthy.
Now for the food that’s not good for your teeth…
Lollipops and hard candy. Anything that is made of pure sugar and exposed to your teeth for an extended period of time is potentially harmful. Hard candy takes a while to eat. The longer the sugar from candy remains on your teeth, the more susceptible your teeth are to decay. Also, chewing hard candy can cause chips or other damage to your teeth.
Fruit snacks, dried fruit, and sticky candy. Even though a package of fruit snacks says the product contains lots of vitamins, the snacks probably contain a lot of sugar. Anything sugary and sticky that remains in between your teeth until you brush and floss can promote the development of decay.
Soda, fruit juice, and sugary beverages of any type. Just like water, soda, juice and sugar-filled drinks are not food – they are beverages. However, anything ingested through your mouth affects your oral health.
For more information on the types of food (and beverages) that are good and not so good for your teeth, please be sure to talk with us at your next appointment. Preventative care is our priority. It’s our goal to help you minimize your risk of developing tooth decay or suffering from other avoidable dental problems.