When you see someone with a bright, white smile, don’t you just think, “healthy?” I do! It’s definitely a sign of someone who takes care of themselves. If you want to take better care of your teeth (which has extra health benefits… stay tuned for a future post on this!), check out today’s post by guest blogger, Anita.
Sticky, filmy bacteria known as plaque naturally live in everyone’s mouth. Tooth enamel is a thin protective layer that minimizes the effects of plaque but does not grow back after decaying or cracking. Reducing the following types of food in your diet can assist in protecting your teeth.
Chewy gooey foods like peanut butter, taffy, and caramel are infamous for making sugary deposits that bacteria digest, forming cavities. Without regular brushing and flossing, even healthy sticky foods like raisins or other dried fruits become leftovers for plaque. While dried fruit is normally considered a healthier choice of food, be sure to brush your teeth after eating it, since it can be just as bad as candy if it sticks around for too long.
Hard candy and other tough foods test the strength of tooth enamel. Un-popped corn kernels lurking at the bottom of the popcorn bowl or ice cubes added to a warm drink might mean a visit to the local dentist to crown a cracked or broken tooth. Try not to bite down on foods that are too hard, even if they don’t have sugary content, like ice. These foods can still cause just as much as damage.
Carbohydrates may be tasty, but to your mouth, they are merely a stepping stone in the formation of sugars. Snack foods like crackers, potato chips, and soft breads easily fit into teeth fissures, the spaces between teeth, allowing bacteria to feed on the resulting sugars for extended amounts of time. Flossing after meals can help extract these food remnants.
Soda has long been an enemy of teeth due to its high sugar content, but other ingredients like citric and phosphoric acids also eat away at tooth enamel. High doses of citric and ascorbic acids occur naturally in lemons, tomatoes, and other fruits that are otherwise nutritional. Drinking water with these fruits will dilute their acidity.
As previously mentioned, water is a key element for keeping mouths sugar and acid free. Dehydrating agents like caffeine in coffee or soda remove water more quickly from the system and inhibit formation of saliva. Alcohol, specifically wine, exhibits varying amounts of tannins, the astringent that causes the dry, puckered feeling in the mouth, tannic acid being the most common.
Consumption of dark-colored foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and berries can cause teeth to stain over long periods of time. These foods are full of chromogens, compounds that act as a dye when they oxidize and are particularly attracted to tooth enamel. Routine professional or at-home whitening treatments have been shown to reverse these effects.
The secret to maintaining a healthy mouth starts with prevention. Along with daily oral care, a proper diet can extend the life expectancy of teeth.
Informational credit to Paramount Dentistry.
About the Author
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about health, family, home and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.
Do you have any foods to avoid for healthier teeth? Please share them with us!