Your diet and oral health are closely linked which many people don’t realize. We have always heard dentists say to avoid sugar but there are many other factors that should be considered when evaluating dental health importance. Nutrients found in vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes enhance the body’s ability to fight inflammation and bacteria, which can help protect teeth and gums. Following is a list of 10 things you didn’t know about oral health and your diet.
- Dairy products help promote healthy bones and teeth.
Juices fortified with calcium, milk and yogurt are high in vitamin C and calcium, thereby promoting healthy bones and teeth. The calcium released from cheese mixes with plaque and adheres to the teeth, protecting them from the acid that results in decay and helping to rebuild tooth enamel instantly.
- Raw fruits and vegetables can help clean teeth.
Celery, apples and carrots can remove plaque and freshen breath.
- Vitamins can help cell growth and protect infection.
Antioxidants like vitamin C protects gums from bacterial infection and cell damage. Folic acid, a member of the B vitamin family, encourages cell growth throughout the body. It can be found in brewer’s yeast and leafy green vegetables.
- Avoid foods that take long to chew.
Foods that take long to chew or ones that are held in the mouth can damage the teeth as the sugar is held in the mouth longer. If you like snacking on sugary, high carbohydrate or acidic foods, try to only eat these foods at meal times to decrease the time the teeth are exposed to acid.
- Sour, acidic foods are just as bad as sweet.
Sour candy, soft drinks and fruit juices cause teeth to soften, resulting in erosion of enamel and smaller teeth. Sour, sticky kid’s candies have a very low Ph and are highly acidic. Sugar free soda is also included in this group. The best time to consume these foods are at mealtime so they can be combined with others.
- Ice, popcorn and lip/tongue piercings damage teeth.
Dentists report eating popcorn is like chewing on a stone and ice is brittle. Extra caution is wise if you have many fillings. Chewing extra hard with weakened teeth would cause more pressure to be applied. Metal from piercings can collect bacteria and cause teeth to chip.
- Excessive fluoride can be bad for teeth.
Too much fluoride can make teeth porous. Kids can swallow too much toothpaste. Ensure children only put a small amount of toothpaste on their brush and supervise their brushing activity – they should be spitting out and not swallowing the paste.
- Braces can cause cavities.
It’s essential to brush well if you want healthy teeth. Bacteria, acid and food stuck on the braces can shed the enamel. Cavities can actually start to form around the edge of the braces. It’s natural to use our tongue to “brush” our teeth. However, those wearing braces don’t want to hit the metal so a build up of sludge occurs.
- Bread is damaging to the teeth.
Many breads contain sugar. Check the labels for any additional sweeteners that may cause mouth bacteria. Also bread is sticky and gets stuck in between and behind teeth.
- Careful using salad dressing.
Many salad dressings are made with sugar and vinegar. While it’s important to eat salad, be careful what you put on them.
These tips can help ensure your body is healthy as well as your teeth. Make sure to discuss your diet with Dr. Bruce Vafa, Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist.
Click here to learn about foods that strengthen your teeth.