How often do you think about your oral health? Usually just when brushing and flossing your teeth. But your diet can have a huge effect on how healthy your teeth, tongue, and gums are.
Eating healthy is usually marketed to people as a way of maintaining healthy body weight and getting all your essential vitamins and minerals. But healthy foods are also good for your oral health!
The most common oral health issue seen is cavities, which are parts of the teeth that have rotted away from improper care.
Taking care of your teeth with proper brushing and flossing can avoid cavities, but your diet can also help prevent them!
Foods That Support Oral Health
Your teeth are primarily calcium, so eating foods with high calcium contents, like dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt can help increase the amount of calcium in your body and strengthen your teeth.
In addition to foods high in calcium, eating food with high amounts of phosphorus can be beneficial too. Nuts, meat, spinach, and other leafy greens, (which are high in calcium, for those who cannot consume dairy,) are very good for teeth.
Crunchy Fruits and Veggies
Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, or cucumbers are great for your oral health too!
When eating crunchy fruits or vegetables, your mouth produces more saliva which helps to wash away food particles stuck in your teeth or rest in your mouth cause odor or build-up of bacteria.
Water helps dilute the left-over sugars in your mouth that are consumed by the bacteria in your mouth and turned into acid and damage your teeth and cause bad breath.
Drinking water works but eating crunchy fruits and veggies will also help!
Avoiding Sugary and Acidic Foods
Foods high in acid or sugar can cause damage to your teeth in the form of cavities, canker sores, or wear down the enamel on your teeth, causing tooth sensitivity.
Highly acidic foods include citrus, (oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit,) and tomatoes.
Sugars and carbohydrates are in most common foods, and thus can be harder to avoid. Carbs are broken down into sugars by the enzymes in your saliva, which then acts just like normal sugars when they interact with the bacteria in your mouth, turning acidic.
Desserts are foods that are very high in sugars, and so are sodas, and premade drinks among others. Foods with large amounts of carbs are bread, pizza, chips, pretzels, and so on.
Drinking water is fantastic for your body’s health and your oral health. However, sugary drinks like sodas and pre-made iced teas, lemonades, and fruit punches often have lots of added sugar that can cause acidity in your mouth.
Sodas can also be highly acidic, so they are better to avoid in general.
The optimal drink for your oral health is water with fluoride, since it helps to strengthen your teeth, just as the fluoride in your toothpaste or mouthwash does.
If you often put lots of sugar into your coffee, consider lessening the amount and switching to tea instead of highly acidic coffee.