The health of your teeth largely depends on the food you eat. Some foods are better than others, while some foods you need to completely eliminate from your diet. By having good oral hygiene, you can reduce the risk of dental and other health issues, which, in turn, can help improve your overall general health. Thus, if you want to learn which is the best and worst foods for teeth, then this comprehensive infographic is just what you need.
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Best Foods For Your Teeth
- Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, which promotes oral health. It contains magnesium which strengthens the teeth and prevents cavities while calcium helps build your teeth’s enamel. Spinach, kale, cabbage, asparagus are a few of the foods that are good for your teeth. Also, pregnant women should make leafy vegetables a part of their diet as it contains Folic acid, which prevents gum disease.
- Celery: As a natural toothbrush, chewing on celery can help scrap-off food particles from the teeth while at the same time, it helps stimulate the flow of saliva, which helps fight off bacteria. Being a good source of vitamins A and C, celery is also an excellent food for healthy gums.
- Milk and Other Dairy Products: This is a superfood for healthy teeth and gums. Providing you with calcium, protein, nutrients and vitamin D, milk and dairy products help strengthen your tooth enamel. Chewing on cheese helps increase the saliva in the mouth, which lowers the risk of tooth decay, while Yogurt has probiotics (good bacteria) which are good for your gums.
- Almonds and Raisins: Apart from being a delicious and healthy snack, dry fruits like almonds and raisins are excellent foods that strengthen teeth. They are rich in calcium, proteins, vitamins & minerals and dietary fibre. Raisins, in particular, can help suppress the growth of oral bacteria, preventing cavities and gum disease and can help reduce acidity. Almonds, on the other hand, are rich in antioxidants, which protects your teeth for harmful free radicals and promotes the healing of oral wounds.
- Water: When it comes to the best foods for teeth, water surpasses all. Since 99% of saliva is water, drinking plentiful water produces enough saliva, which helps keep your teeth healthy and strong. Saliva also helps rinse leftover food particles from the teeth, thereby preventing cavities. What’s more, water contains fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay.
- Cranberries and Strawberries: Another food for healthy gums, both these berries are high in anthocyanins which prevent tooth decay. Cranberries, in particular, contains proanthocyanidins which help neutralise bacteria and prevents gum disease. Strawberries, on the other hand, contain malic acid, which makes it a natural teeth whitener. However, these are some of the foods that stain teeth, so make sure you brush your teeth shortly after eating them to prevent staining.
- Black and Green Tea: Research suggests that drinking black and green tea is good for your teeth as it contains Polyphenols which kills/suppress the growth of bacteria that causes plaque. Tea also prevents cavities from developing, and the anti-inflammatory properties in green tea help control periodontal disease.
- Sugar-free Gum: While this may not qualify as food, sugar-free chewing gum is good for your teeth as it helps boost the production of saliva. It also helps rinse away harmful acids and keeps your breath fresh.
- Apples and Carrots: Both apples and carrots are crunchy and full of fibre. Eating them can help increase saliva production, thereby reducing the risk of cavities. Chewing on carrots can also help massage your gums and make your tooth enamel stronger. Both of these are packed with essential vitamins, thus making them the best foods for stronger teeth.
- Fish: Fatty fish is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, which helps protect your teeth. Fish such as salmon, sardines and herring can be included in your diet to improve your oral health. Also, since they have polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3s), they can be effective in treating periodontitis.
Worst Foods For Your Teeth
- Sugary Sodas and Carbonated Drinks: This is one of the topmost bad foods for teeth. Sugary sodas and carbonated drinks not only damage your teeth, but it also affects the saliva production, causing bad breath. Drinking large quantities of sodas and sugary drinks can also fasten tooth decay as well as stain your teeth.
- Sticky Foods and Chewy Candies: Taffy, sour candies and caramels are foods that tend to stick and cling to your teeth and crevices for a longer time and may cause cavities. Thus, it is best to avoid these and if you do eat them, make sure that you rinse your mouth with water afterwards to remove any residue left behind.
- Hard Candy and Junk Food (Chips): The sugar from hard candies tend to stay on your teeth for longer, as they dissolve slowly. They could also cause potential dental emergencies such as a cracked tooth. Likewise, potato chips, white bread and corn chips are starchy foods that can get trapped between your teeth; feeding bacteria which causes plaque. As such, it is best that you avoid them for a healthy smile.
- Citrus Fruits and Juices: While citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, too much of it can erode your enamel over time, leading to decay. Also, since citric fruits and juices are highly acidic foods, it is best to eat/drink them in moderation. Plus, to answer the question, ‘is lemon bad for your teeth?’ the answer is ‘Yes, it is.’ So, don’t suck on it and post eating citrus fruits make sure to rinse with plain water.
- Excessive Tea and Coffee: Tea and coffee are a healthy beverage in their natural form. However, excessive tea and coffee can stain your teeth and make your mouth go dry. Sugary tea and coffee along with other add-ons, can also make your teeth sticky and cause bacteria. Thus, for healthy teeth, limit your intake and drink plenty of water afterwards.
- Sports Drinks: While non-carbonated sports drinks may seem like a good alternative to carbonated drinks, they are still high in sugar and acidic, which makes them bad for your teeth.
- Pickles: Pickles are acidic in nature, which makes it a bad food choice when it comes to your teeth. It can wear out your tooth enamel over time, and as such, it is best to avoid it if you want to maintain your dental health.
- Chewing on Ice: This is a one-way ticket to a dental emergency. Chewing on ice makes your teeth vulnerable, which could lead to cracked tooth, chipped tooth, or it could break your dental filling. So, it is best to steer clear from it.
- Crackers and Popcorn: Crackers are starchy foods that can breakdown into simple sugars in your mouth, making it a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in tooth decay. Similarly, buttery popcorn can get stuck between your teeth, leading to bacterial growth, and in some cases, sharp hulls or kernels could cut your gums.
- Beverages With Alcohol: This is one of the worst foods for the teeth because it decreases the saliva flow in your mouth. Beverages with alcohol cause dehydration, dry mouth, and irritate the soft tissues in the mouth. It also leads to tooth decay and oral infections. Worse yet, excessive intake of these beverages increases the risk of mouth cancer.
Your dental health is in your hands. By eating the right foods, you can maintain optimal oral health, which will also have a positive impact on your general health. Thus, make the most of this infographic on the best and worst foods for your teeth and don’t forget to visit your local Sunshine Coast Dentist for regular check-ups.
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