Everybody knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. But the truth is that there is so much more to the relationship between your diet and your oral health. Nutrition plays an essential role in all aspects of your health, and your teeth and gums are no exception. So, the first step towards protecting your pearly whites should be knowing what you should and should not consume – or at least consume less of. Here are some diet and nutrition tips so that you can keep your smile for a long time!
What you should steer clear of
As mentioned in the beginning, sugar is a major culprit in tooth decay. This is especially true in the case of sticky sweets that linger around in your mouth and sugary drinks that coat your teeth with this troublesome substance. Sugar promotes the growth of bacteria in your mouth that produce acid as they break down the food. While your body is constantly working on controlling this acidity, too much sugar will do damage and break down your tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
Besides sugary foods, the same process can be observed in the case of starchy foods as well: its residue sticks to your teeth, feeding bacteria for a long time. Since the issue is centered on acidity, it does not come as a surprise that acidic foods can be problematic for your tooth enamel, too. You might want to keep your citrus fruit consumption within reasonable amounts for the sake of your teeth.
What you can do is fairly simple: limit your sugar intake (this will benefit other aspects of your health, too), eat sugary and acidic foods with meals so that you wash them off, and brush your teeth regularly so that residue won’t linger around. If you notice signs of tooth decay, seek out a trustworthy local dental clinic. For example, if you live in the Sydney area, you can go to a reliable Penrith dentist to take care of the issue.
What you should include in your diet
There are certain foods, too, that can help you keep your teeth strong. First of all, it is known that calcium is important for bone and tooth health, therefore, foods rich in calcium should be part of your diet. Dairy products are often the best in this respect: cheese not only contains calcium, but it also fights acidity in the mouth, while yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that are good for your gums. Besides dairy, leafy greens and almonds are also good sources of calcium, but also other vitamins.
The next thing you should look out for is crunchy vegetables. While they get a bad rap for not tasting too good, the fibers they contain are really good for you. As you chew them, they clean your teeth of food residue thanks to their texture and they also promote saliva production, which makes them a great defense against tooth decay and gum disease. So, make sure that carrots, celery, and other crunchy vegetables are part of your diet.
In addition, some fruits are beneficial for your teeth, too, even though they contain sugar. Fiber-rich fruits like apples rinse your teeth by contributing to increased saliva production. Strawberries, on the other hand, contain a tooth-whitening enzyme, so they can brighten your smile, as studies show. However, make sure you don’t overconsume them since they are acidic, and acidic foods can still deteriorate your tooth enamel.
Finally, an important mineral for your teeth, as you might know since it’s a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash, is fluoride. Fluoride helps the remineralization of your tooth enamel, or to put it simply, it helps restore it bit by bit. Fluoride is naturally found in water, so if your drinking water contains enough of it, there’s no need to supplement it. However, bottled and purified water may not have enough fluoride, so consider fluoride treatment if necessary.
It is no coincidence that they say that we are what we eat. What we consume reflects on our health, including our oral health, so you should inform yourself well and make sure you do everything you can for the longevity of your teeth!