We all know that sugar can be bad for our teeth, especially when had in excess. But are you aware of the other ways in which your diet impacts your teeth? Brushing and flossing and going to your regular dental appointments are crucial parts of maintaining good oral health, but so too is being mindful of what your diet consists of. Some foods can help your dental health, while others leave you more susceptible to cavities and gum disease. Here’s what you need to know about how your diet impacts your teeth.
How Your Diet Impacts Your Teeth: The Issues
Some foods are more problematic than others for your oral health (Halloween candy, anyone?). This is because foods, such as sugars and starches, cause acids to form when they come into contact with the plaque on your teeth. This can result in acid attacks that can last for 20+ minutes, even after you’ve finished eating. These can result in issues such as tooth decay, as repeated acid attacks end up breaking down your tooth’s enamel. This can also result in issues with your gums and the supporting structures throughout your mouth, such as your jawbone.
How Your Diet Impacts Your Teeth: The Good
When most of us think about how your diet impacts your teeth, we mostly think about sugars and candies and how those can lead to cavities. However, your diet impacts your teeth in more ways than that. It can also help your teeth. For instance, your diet can help your teeth and gums stay nice and clean. It can also help your mouth produce saliva, which assists in remineralization. Some beverages, such as green and black tea, can also prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth and those acid attacks from occurring.
Foods And Beverages To Be Wary Of
Some foods and beverages are worse for your oral health than others. This does not mean you can’t have them; it just means that moderation is key. Since your diet impacts your teeth quite significantly, you don’t want it to consist of all sugary and starchy foods. However, the occasional indulgence likely won’t result in an issue, especially if you ensure that you practice good oral hygiene.
Some foods and beverages that you should be wary of and only indulge in now and then include:
- Sticky sweets. These can stick to the surface of your teeth, leading to tooth decay. When you have sticky sweets, it’s best to stick to small amounts, and to follow up with brushing and flossing.
- Starchy foods. Starchy foods, such as chips, can also get stuck both to your teeth and in between them. The carbs in starchy foods turn into sugar as your saliva break them down.
- Sugary soft drinks. Sodas, energy drinks, and more are loaded with sugar, which can really wear away at your tooth enamel, especially if you sip on them throughout the day, rather than having them with a meal.
- Acidic foods. Acidic foods can erode your teeth just like sugary ones, but faster. Many acidic foods can be healthy, so it’s best to have acidic foods such as citrus fruit with meals low in acidity, to improve how your diet impacts your teeth, as the combination can help to neutralize the acidity.
- Pigmented foods and drinks. These are a way in which your diet impacts your teeth not just in regards to your oral health, but also cosmetically. Many pigmented foods and drinks can be good for you, but end up staining your teeth. These include red wine, coffee, beets, tomato sauce, and more. Proper oral hygiene can minimize the amount of staining these do to your teeth.
Foods And Beverages That Can Help Your Teeth
Your diet impacts your teeth positively when you opt for drinks like fluoridated water and foods that can help your teeth fight off the buildup of plaque. In general, the healthier your diet, the healthier your teeth will be. You want water to be your #1 drink of choice, with other beverages being the occasional indulgence.
Some foods and beverages that can help your teeth include:
- Foods and drinks with fluoride. Fluoride helps keep your teeth strong and healthy, so drinking fluoridated water and having foods made with fluoride can help your teeth.
- Go for calcium-rich foods. Foods with high amounts of calcium, such as cheese, almonds, and leafy greens can help your teeth in how they can help rebuild and protect your tooth enamel.
- Proteins are good too. Your diet impacts your teeth positively if you incorporate foods with proteins into it, such as meat, as these can also help to rebuild and protect your tooth enamel.
- Foods rich in fiber. Foods with fiber improve how your diet impacts your teeth because they help to clean your teeth and to get saliva flowing, which helps with the remineralization process.
Eating Habits For Healthy Teeth
It’s not just what you eat that affects how your diet impacts your teeth, but also when you eat. In general, it’s best to avoid snacking, as this exposes your teeth to more acid attacks throughout the day. You also will want to try to have sugary and starchy foods and beverages with meals rather than on their own, as this helps to reduce how much acid your mouth makes.
Of course, dental hygiene is key to maintaining good oral health, even if you have the cleanest diet in the world. In addition to being mindful of how your diet impacts your teeth, you also want to be brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and going to your regular dentist appointments.
Avenues Dental is here to help you keep your teeth healthy, strong, and beautiful. Contact us today to schedule a dentist appointment.