Foods that Help Teeth
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and Vegetables that contain a high volume of water–such as pears, melons, celery, and cucumber– help balance ingested sugars and help to clean the teeth. Many fruits and vegetables also contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds) and vitamin A (key nutrient in building tooth enamel). Fruits and veggies that are fibrous help “clean” teeth and also get saliva flowing. Leafy greens are great sources of calcium too.
- Dairy: Cheese neutralises acid in the mouth and is also a saliva maker. Saliva can help to rid your teeth of decay-causing food particles. Eating cheese before a meal helps to coat tooth surfaces making it harder for other foods and germ to stick to teeth. Milk, and plain yogurt are also great choices.
- Protein: Calcium-fortified tofu and almonds can promote good teeth health due to their high calcium properties and other nutrients. Other great options for protein: meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs. These foods are also high in phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus rebuild and protect your tooth enamel and are vital to your dental health.
- Water: Helps to wash decay-promoting particles from your teeth. Water is a great choice for hydration because it is sugar-free and helps in the digestion process.
Foods that Harm Teeth
- Hard candies: Not only can these sweets break your teeth, they are full of sugars bacteria love to feed on and can be sticky.
- Ice: Refreshing for cooling off a drink, but chewing on then can cause microfractures in enamel that can break your teeth.
- Citrus foods: Citric acidic can erode the enamel of your teeth. Get to know what foods are acidic and eat them as part of a meal of other healthy foods to help wash away and neutralise their acidic properties.
- Coffee/Tea: Caffeinated coffee and tea can dry out your mouth allowing bacteria to stick your teeth and promote decay. Sugar is often added to sweeten coffee, so if you’re sipping it all day it can lead to tooth decay. Also, these types of beverages can stain your teeth over time.
- Sticky foods: Bacteria continue to eat the sticky foods left on the tooth the long after you’re finished eating. Choise fresh fruit instead of dried, sticky fruit like raisins, dried figs, dried apricots, granola bars, jelly beans, caramel, and molasses. It is especially hard to clean them out of any deep grooves on the biting surface of teeth. Coat your teeth by eating some cheese first to create a film over tooth surfaces. This makes it harder for sticky foods to adhere to teeth.
- Crunchy foods: Be careful of foods that can break teeth and past dental work or get stuck in between teeth and under gums. This is especially important for weak teeth or failing dental restorations. Biting into foods like raw carrots, bones, Patients stool often remark about how they broke a tooth eating a sandwich or other starchy food, but a fracture line probably occurred on a harder goid and the sticky soft foods”pulled” it away.
- Sodas, Energy drinks and Flavoured Waters: These drinks are full of citric acid and/or sugars. Drink in moderation and rinse with water or mouthrinse afterwards. You can also chew sugarless gum. Plain ol’ water is the best beverage choice!
- Alcohol: Causes dehydration and dry mouth which can cause decreased saliva flow over time. Less saliva means your mouth is more prone to tooth decay or gum disease. Heavy alcohol use can also increase your risk for mouth cancer.
Moderation is key when it comes to certain foods. The tips offered above help you enjoy a variety of foods while also giving consideration to how they can harm or heal your oral health. When it comes to the risk for tooth decay, frequency becomes the most important consideration. Spacing your meals by 4-5 hours allows your saliva to repair the damage done by dietary and bacterial acids. This sounds like a long time to wait in between meals, but we have become accustomed to snacking throughout the day. Unless you have a medical reason to eating more frequently, hunger is your body’s natural response that tells you that it’s time to eat.