Eating for a Healthy Smile
Prevention is the best medicine! It’s in the interest of your oral health to take care of your teeth with proper eating and cleaning, but there are also certain foods that seem to do more harm than good (even though we tend to enjoy these foods the most). Here are some of the biggest culprits, and the best reasons to keep a toothbrush with you wherever you may be:
1. Candy (hard/sticky) – The bacteria in your mouth burns away all the sugar in candy to make acid, which in turn dissolves the enamel layer of your teeth, leaving them more susceptible to tooth decay.
2. Citrus – Fruits with citrus are high in acid, and without proper oral care can cause erosion of the enamel layer on your teeth, creating places for cavities to easily develop.
3. Soda/Sports Drinks – These drinks are also high in acid, and when consumed in excess can lead to serious erosion of that all-important enamel layer of our teeth.
4. Wine – While all wine is high in acid, red wine also contains tannins which cause staining of the teeth, making it a double-whammy offender!
5. Coffee/Tea – Although the enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not flat and smooth. On the contrary, your tooth enamel contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink. Pigments from dark-colored drinks such as coffee and tea, can become embedded in those cracks and ridges and, if the proper steps are not taken, can cause permanent, yellowing stains on your teeth.
6. Crackers/Bread – Our saliva works to quickly break down the crackers and bread in our mouth to that mushy goop that sticks to the spaces in between your teeth. When not brushed or flossed away, this goop turns into sugar, which can lead to cavities.
Along with regular dental checkups, cleanings, brushing and flossing at home, you can also eat your way to a healthy smile. Raw veggies like carrots help scrape the surface of our teeth to clean them, while green leafy foods like spinach and kale operate sort of like a car wash for your teeth! Drinking water always helps to clear your mouth of surplus acid and sugar, while drinking dairy can boost your calcium and help keep your teeth strong!
When in doubt — keep a toothbrush handy!