What you eat affects your mind and every part of your body, including your teeth. Your diet affects your oral health specifically in numerous ways. In fact, certain foods can improve your teeth and gums, while other foods can contribute to tooth decay.
Diet and Oral Health: Foods and Drinks that May be Good for Your Teeth
A properly hydrated mouth is critical for healthy teeth. Saliva naturally cleans your mouth. For that reason, drinking water and eating foods that help stimulate saliva production may be helpful. Chewing celery, for example, may help clean your teeth and literally keep the juices in your mouth flowing.
Foods and drinks that may be good for your teeth include:
- Dairy products, which can be low in sugar yet high in calcium.
- Lean meats like fish and poultry, which are also low in sugars but provide your body with valuable phosphorous and protein.
- Vegetables, which can be high in fiber and water to balance sugars and also stimulate saliva production during chewing.
- Nuts, which stimulate saliva while being low in carbohydrates and high in protein and minerals. (Just be careful when chewing hard foods to avoid breaking or chipping teeth.)
Better Oral Health: Foods to Avoid
Consuming sugars and acids is among the worst things you can do for your dental health. Sugars are a breeding ground for acid, and acid wears away your enamel, leading to tooth decay.
When it comes to foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth, the worst culprits include:
- Hard candies and suckers: Because they stay in your mouth for a long period of time, they give the sugars and acids the power they need to do some serious damage. Hard candies and suckers can also cut or irritate your gums and tongue.
- Citrusy foods and juice: Remember that acids are what you want to avoid in order to keep your teeth strong. While citrusy foods like oranges and lemons provide many overall health benefits, they’re not the best for your teeth. If you do consume these foods, brush your teeth afterward.
- Sticky, sugary foods: Sticky foods like caramel stay in the grooves of your teeth longer.
- Starchy foods: Starches linger in your mouth.
- Alcoholic drinks: They can dry your mouth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Alcohol consumption has even been linked with oral cancer.
- Soda: We left perhaps the biggest offender for last. Soda pop consumption contains four issues that lead to tooth decay.
- Soda is sugary.
- Soda is acidic, even if it’s diet soda.
- Most people sip soda over a long period of time.
- The caffeine in soda can dry your mouth.
To learn more about how diet affects your oral health, make an appointment to visit our dentist today.