What you need to know:
- Even foods and drinks that are good for your teeth like milk contain sugars, but natural sugars are safe and healthy.
- No matter what you eat, it’s important to brush or at least to rinse your mouth with water.
What we eat affects our mouth not only by building healthier teeth and gums, but also helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and unsaturated fats will benefit your overall oral health. These are some of the foods you need to take for a healthy life.
Calcium- Drinking milk builds strong bones and teeth. Calcium is vital both in childhood and adulthood as the value of this nutrient doesn’t stop even when you get your last (wisdom) teeth. A diet with adequate calcium may prevent against tooth decay. The jawbone is particularly susceptible to the effects of low calcium. It can weaken because of low calcium intake, which in turn causes teeth to loosen, leaving you at risk for gum disease.
Fruits and Vegetables - Crunchy fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, celery, and carrots are excellent for teeth in two ways. The crisp texture acts as a detergent on teeth, wiping away bacteria that can cause plaque. These foods also require a lot of chewing, which increases the production of bacteria neutralizing saliva.
Tea - While tea may stain teeth, the compounds in black tea can destroy or suppress the growth of cavity causing bacteria in dental plaque, which can help prevent both cavities and gum disease. In case of any black stains caused by uptake of some drinks, seek dental care.
Water - Drinking plenty of water benefits teeth as it helps rinse both bacteria and the remnants of food that bacteria turns into plaque. Tap water is better for teeth than bottled because it contains fluoride, which prevents tooth decay. You should know that not all tapped water is safe, only those with access to safe treated tap water can use it. Individuals living in alkaline areas whose water are too salty; their teeth may be affected with stains which cannot easily be removed. Always consult your nearest water source providers on how safe it is to use the available water source for drinking.
Foods to avoid - Sugary snacks, especially gummy candies and hard candies that stick in your teeth, are at the top of every dentist’s list of foods to avoid. Regular soda provides a double hit to teeth, combining sugar with acids which may weaken your teeth. Even foods and drinks that are good for your teeth like milk contain sugars, but natural sugars are safe and healthy.
No matter what you eat, it’s important to brush or at least to rinse your mouth with water.
The author is a dentist.