What you eat can cause much more tooth decay than what you think. It is really important that you avoid foods that damage your teeth and increase consumption of foods that actually help prevent tooth decay. We will talk about both of them below so you know exactly what has to be avoided and what has to be considered.
Foods That Prevent Tooth Decay And Cavities
- Crunchy Fruits And Vegetables
People have been saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for as long as we can remember but they rarely mean the dentist. This is quite a shame since crunchy vegetables and fruits do wonders in terms of preventing tooth decay because of high fiber content. The fiber stimulates saliva flow. This rinses away remaining sugar before it gets the opportunity of attacking tooth enamel. While there are many crunchy fruits that have a lot of sugar in them (like the already mentioned apple), the high content of water and fiber is more than enough to eliminate sugar’s negative effects.
Make sure that you consider crunchy vegetables and fruits like celery, apples and carrots.
- Dairy And Cheese
So many love cheese so here is another reason why you should eat more. Cheese is very good for teeth. It does not have much sugar and it has a lot of calcium and protein. Both of these help increase enamel health and strength. At the same time, those that eat cheese are much less likely to get cavities.
If you do not like cheese, do not worry. You can also consider drinking a glass of milk after you eat some sweets. This reduces plaque buildup while also offering the calcium that teeth need to be strong.
You need protein if you want healthy teeth. Many sources are available but nuts have to be mentioned as particularly good. They also include phosphorous and calcium so teeth enamel gets stronger. At the same time, since nuts are naturally crunchy, saliva production is stimulated.
If you cannot eat nuts or you just do not like them, at least go for good protein sources like eggs, lean meat and chicken.
Shellfish, lobster and fish in general are great for teeth due to two reasons. The first one is that they are wonderful protein sources. This helps keep teeth strong and healthy. The second one is the high fluoride content, which helps naturally reduce tooth decay risk. You have fluoride added to tap water in most parts of the world and so many toothpastes have it included. This is simply because it is that good at protecting your teeth, among other benefits.
Foods That Can Cause Tooth Decay And Cavities
Candies always seem to be harmless but if you eat too many, you are exposed to so much extra sugar that your teeth will eventually be damaged. This is particularly the case with hard candies. Besides the high sugar content, you can also end up with chipped or broken teeth as you chew on them.
If you feel the urge to chew something, choose sugarless gum. It is not perfect but it is way better than candy.
Ice is problematic mainly because of the fact that a lot of people chew it. When you do this, teeth become vulnerable and have their enamel damaged. Water should be enjoyed in a liquid form. Only use ice in order to chill your drinks. Do not chew on it.
- Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are not bad for teeth, unless you often eat them and you do not drink water afterwards. This is due to the fact that they have high acidic content that can erode tooth enamel. Over time, teeth are simply much more susceptible to tooth decay. Next time you want to add some lime to your drink, think twice. This is especially the case in the event that you have mouth sores as they would be irritated.
Coffee is not directly bad for your teeth. However, most people make the mistake of adding sugar to it. At the same time, you should know that caffeinated coffee can easily dry the mouth and stain teeth. Whenever you consume, try to reduce add-ons and drink water after.
- Sticky Foods
You will often hear people telling you that dried foods are great healthy snacks. This is not actually the case. One thing you should think about is that these fruits are sticky. They can damage teeth simply because they are attached to them for a long period of time. When you often eat dry foods, besides having to worry about high sugar content, you need to also rinse and even brush so you remove particles.
We should also mention potato chips and other crunchy treats. They tend to include much starch, which will be trapped between teeth.
This is definitely no surprise. Sugary drinks and foods are pretty bad since plaque bacteria will use the extra sugar to produce some nasty acids that easily damage tooth enamel. Basically, all carbonated soft drinks have to be avoided as they are acidic. This includes diet soda. If you choose soda that also includes caffeine, the damage is higher since it dries the mouth.
The reason why alcohol should not be consumed in regards to your teeth might surprise you. The problem is that it dries your mouth and causes dehydration. Saliva flow ends up reduced so the possibility of developing tooth decay is higher. The same thing can be said about gum disease.
If you need another reason why you want to avoid drinking too much alcohol, remember that it also increases mouth cancer risk.
- Sports Drinks
Too many people think that sports drinks are healthy. The problem with them is that they have high sugar content. This is true for both energy and sports drinks. While these drinks are sometimes helpful when involved in physical activities that are vigorous and prolonged, they are actually unnecessary. If you do want to drink sports drinks, at least check the label to be sure sugar content is low.
Extra Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay
What you eat can easily protect or damage your teeth. However, the diet is not the only thing that you have to be aware of. You can have a perfect diet and still be faced with tooth decay and cavities. Besides all that was mentioned above, remember the following extra tips to prevent tooth decay:
- Brush teeth two times per day.
- Use a toothpaste that includes fluoride.
- Rinse every single day with a mouthwash that includes fluoride.
- Limit unhealthy snacks of any kind.
- Talk to your dentist to see if you need supplemental fluoride.
- Consider dental sealants.
- Drink some fluoridated water.
- Visit the dentist at regular intervals to get professional cleanings done and a thorough oral exam.