Most of us are aware that practicing good dietary habits and avoiding excessive sugar intake is important for our dental health. Good oral health requires a balance of healthy foods and dedicated hygiene. While learning which snacks to eat and which to stay away from is easy, it’s also important to know when extra brushing or rinsing is necessary.
The Good - Foods and Beverages that help your Smile Shine
Water – Drinking water is good for both your overall health and your smile. Fluoridated water, which you can get from your tap, not only fights cavities but strengthens dental enamel.
Dairy Products - Milk, cheese, and yogurt are low in sugar and high in calcium, helping teeth stay healthy.
Lean Proteins – Meats, poultry, and fish contain phosphorus which, along with their protein, help strengthen teeth.
Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially good for your teeth. Remember to rinse after eating citrus fruits, as the acidic juices can wear down your enamel.
Nuts and Legumes – These foods contain protein and minerals that are healthy for your smile, and are low in carbohydrates. Chewing nuts also stimulates saliva production which is necessary to support a healthy microbiome in your mouth.
Sugarless Gum – Chewing gum that carries the ADA seal can help process leftover food particles from your teeth and is a great alternative to sugary snacks.
The Bad - Foods that can Turn Your Smile Upside Down
Dark Beverages & Alcohol – Drinks like coffee, tea, and wine can stain your teeth, and dry out your mouth, encouraging bacterial growth.
High Carbohydrate Snacks – Chips, pretzels, and similar products are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. Take extra care when flossing to remove these particles that lead to plaque build-up.
Soda – Like citrus, sodas are acidic and can erode healthy tooth enamel, not to mention the high amounts of cavity-causing sugars they contain. Sports drinks are also high in sugar content and are not a healthy alternative to soda.
The Ugly – Items That can Injure Your Smile
Hard Candy – Besides being full of sugar, if chewed, these candies can damage to your teeth.
Sticky, Chewy Foods –Typically full of sugar, sticky snacks stay on your teeth longer and can pull out fillings.
Popcorn – Besides getting stuck in your teeth, biting into a popcorn kernel can break or chip your teeth.
Ice and Non-Food Items– Chewing on ice can also damage your teeth and the same goes for pens and pencils. This is a habit worth breaking.
Tobacco – Any use of tobacco products is detrimental to your dental health. Chewing tobacco is especially harmful and is a faster path to developing periodontal disease and even oral cancer.
Minimize the risk of harming your dental health by drinking water or rinsing throughout the day. Make sure to brush an additional time on days that you consume harmful foods and beverages.
For more information on optimizing your dental health, or to schedule an appointment, call Dr. Norma Branson’s San Diego dental office today!