Eat this – Avoid that. The Best (and worst) foods for good oral health.
Let’s look at the best (and worst) foods for good oral health. Sustaining your oral health for the long haul isn’t rocket science, you already know what to do…
- brush and floss everyday (twice)
- keep up your regular dental appointments and
- feed your body with nutritionally fulfilling foods.
The secret to healthy teeth for life may be in your fridge and pantry!
We’ve made a list of foods to choose more often, and a list of foods to avoid. Read on to learn how to eat your way to good oral health (Your dentist will love you for it).
Eat this – cheese, meat, nuts, and milk
Re-mineralise your teeth with foods like cheese, meat, nuts, yoghurt and milk which are high in phosphorous and calcium to help keep your tooth enamel strong (and able to fight off decay).
Almonds are a good source of calcium and protein and they are low in sugar, why not grab a handful to eat with your lunch today?
If you love cheese, you’re onto a winner for your teeth! Not only does cheese supply you with calcium and protein (enamel strengtheners), an American study (General Dentistry May/June 2013) has shown that cheese raises the pH levels in your mouth and reduces the risk of tooth decay.
Cheese plate and almonds any one?!
Meat and fatty fish (like salmon) are loaded with phosphorus. Make a broth from meat bones to maximise on this essential mineral.
Not that – White and starchy food
We all should know by now that white’s not right – Potato chips, white bread, white pasta, and crackers contain more sugars than their whole-wheat counterparts and will commence an attack on your enamel that you want to avoid. Try changing to the wholemeal alternative, there’s a lot of yummy ones out there.
Eat this – crunchy fruits and vegetables
I love a good firm apple or my afternoon carrot (with a tablespoon of almond butter!) Crunchy fruit and veg contain loads of water and require lots of chewing, so they help stimulate saliva and wash and scrub tooth surfaces, brightening up your pearlies while you eat and stimulating your gums! Celery is full of water – and fibrous strands – think of it as a natural floss – ooh, celery and cream cheese sticks please!
Not that – citrus fruits and acidic foods
It’s not called citric acid to be funny. Strongly acidic foods are the number one cause of enamel erosion and tooth decay. While adding lemon to your water in the morning may be a fresh way to start the day, if this is your practice, it’s probably a good idea to rinse with pure water or clean your teeth a half hour afterwards.
That glass of fresh OJ you can’t live without? Best to drink it in one sitting rather than sipping at it over a longer period of time (and rinse with water or brush after).
I love my morning Grapefruit in the winter – but the temptation is to sprinkle it with sugar the way my mum used to. Go for it, but …you know the drill, rinse and clean later.
Drink this – Water
Do yourself a big favour – 2 litres (at least) a day! Water is hands down the best when it comes to the health of your mouth and your general health. Studies have shown that regularly drinking water with trace amounts of fluoride can prevent cavities up to 25% better than unfluoridated water. Sipping away at water all day will get you easily to your 2 litres while helping to wash away sugars and acids from your teeth and gums. Get yourself a litre bottle and set yourself the challenge – You can do this!!
Not that – Soda, juice, coffee, red wine
If you’re drinking your 2 litres of water a day, you may not much feel like sipping on a high sugar drinks anyway (yay!), but do take care what you sip at during the day. Continually sipping on sugary drinks means constant exposure to harmful acids all day long, resulting in tooth decay and other oral issues.
Ever experienced ‘wine staining’ after drinking your favourite shiraz? The acid in red (and white) wine attacks the surface of the teeth making staining common. (Red wine and cheese combo to neutralise that acid sounds good to me!)
Be aware that coffee, especially if you drink a few cups throughout the day, can wear down enamel and cause staining (Darn it).
Chew this – sugar-free gum
The stickiness of sugar free is great for getting in between teeth and removing left over food and plaque. Chewing also promotes saliva production which helps to clear out acids in the mouth. Make sure it’s a sugar free gum though people!
Not that – sticky candy
Chewy, hard, and sticky candies wreak havoc on teeth as they expose them to sugar not only while they are being eaten, but typically also for long after. If the sugar is not immediately removed, it will react with bacteria in the mouth and create destructive acids that can harm both teeth and gums.
Of course, you don’t want to avoid all the things you love all the time, life is for living, right?
But being aware of the consequences and preventative actions will mean that you’re better prepared to maintain good oral health and wholesome for longer. No need to swear off dark liquids and sugars for ever, just use some damage limiting techniques and keep your dentist (and your wallet) happy.
Try these tips for good oral health:
- Eat acidic or sugary foods as part of a meal rather than by themselves. Remember not to brush your teeth straight after consumption though, wait a half hour, as acid can soften your enamel – you don’t want to brush that away!
- Limit snacking. Keep the flow of sugar and acid through your mouth to a minimum.
- Use a straw when drinking acidic or sugary drinks to avoid exposing the teeth for longer than you need to. Don’t be swishing that gunk around in your mouth either!
- Brush, floss and keep up the regular check-ups with your dentist.
- Water, water, water. (and once more) WATER!