Burlington ON dentist explains what the five foods are to avoid, and five foods to promote for good tooth care
Mount Royal Dental in Burlington ON loves to make you smile, with both quality restorative services and by partnering closely with you and your family on tips and products that you can use at home to keep your teeth and gums their healthy best. Your teeth are vital to that first step in healthy digestion: tearing, grinding, and chewing food. It makes sense that the foods and drinks that come in contact with your teeth can either help or harm your oral health. So, what are the five foods to avoid and promote good tooth care? First, we start with the good and then move to the foods and beverages that you should limit. Generally, the foods your teeth love are the same foods that fuel a healthy and fit body!
The “good” list
1 – Dairy
Aside from containing calcium, that builder of bones and protector of tooth enamel, foods like cheese and yogurt are full of protein for strong, healthy teeth. The act of chewing cheese also stimulates the production of saliva, a natural cleanser. Yogurt contains beneficial probiotic bacteria to crowd out the bad bacteria responsible for cavities. Look for plain varieties that don’t contain added sugar, or incorporate natural sweeteners, such as fresh berries.
2 – Greens
Leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in calcium and folic acid, linked in studies to effective treatment of pregnancy gingivitis. These and other greens, like broccoli, also contain Vitamin K, which stimulates osteocalcin protein to support bone strength and natural healing processes. If greens aren’t your thing, sneak them into a smoothie or pizza.
3 – Crunchy fruits and vegetables
Raw apples and carrots are full of fiber and their crunchy, fibrous texture stimulates saliva and promotes gum health. Celery also contains both vitamins K and A, which strengthens the tooth’s connective tissues and protects against early-stage inflammation. All act as natural scrubbers to wash away food particles. Pack a few of these raw goodies in your lunch bag to get you through the day until you can brush and floss thoroughly.
4 – Nuts
Packed with tooth-friendly proteins and minerals, nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews are also chewy to unlock saliva’s natural cleansing power. They’re low in sugar but high in carbs that don’t activate the bacteria responsible for producing harmful acids.
5 – Sources of potassium, phosphorus and vitamin D
These vitamins and minerals help with the absorption of calcium, support strong bones, and prevent calcium loss. Look for bananas, soybeans, lentils, and fortified cereals.
The “bad” list
1 – Hard candies
Sweets constantly bathe your teeth in sugars and can contribute to broken or chipped teeth. While ice cubes don’t contain sugar, they (like hard candies) may also break or damage tooth enamel. Look instead for sugarless gum and use ice for chilling – not chewing.
2 – Citrus
Oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and lime contain beneficial vitamin C, as well as acids that erode enamel, make teeth vulnerable to decay, and irritate mouth sores. “Chase” citrus fruits with water.
3 – Coffee and tea
We know these drinks can stain our teeth, but caffeine also dries out your mouth. Dry mouth is a risk factor for tooth decay. If you sip these beverages, keep water close by as a rinse, and limit the additional sugars to sweeten your cup of joe.
4 – Sticky foods
Snacks like dried fruits and trail mix stick to your teeth and tend to contain lots of sugar. Crunchy starches like potato chips also get trapped in tiny spaces, such as the grooved pits of decay-prone molars.
5 – Sugary beverages
Sodas, as well as many fruit juices and sports drinks, contain high amounts of sugar and are acidic. Drinks that contain caffeine also promote dry mouth. All these effects make your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
The team at Mount Royal Dental encourages you to read those nutritional labels! Many times, it’s not so much about “good foods” and “bad foods,” but rather about how often we consume them and if we rinse off these sugars and starches with water, and brush and floss correctly and consistently.
For more tooth-friendly tips (that are often also good for the rest of your body!), schedule an appointment at the Burlington ON office. Call (905) 581-9912. We’ll help you and your family keep smiling with suggestions and products suited to your specific needs.