Eating sugary things or drinking sweet beverages can cause dental cavities and other oral health issues. Most people are unaware that eating too much of starchy foods can also have the effect which is why they develop dental issues. It will interest you to know that according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research’s (NIDCR); close to 92% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have cavities in one or more of their teeth. And, you could be one of them!
While certain kinds of foods are no doubt bad for your teeth when consumed in excess, nature has a whole lot of other foods that are actually good for your teeth. Simply by adding these foods to your regular diet and following a careful oral health care regimen, you will be preventing tooth decay, cavities, and the need for expensive oral care. The habits that you adopt will also be ingrained in your children. Accordingly, you’ll help them avoid decay in their baby teeth that ultimately gets transferred to the permanent teeth.
Choose Healthy Snacking Habits
Expert dental surgeon Dr. Jennifer Silver at the MacLeod Trail Dental clinic advises, “In addition to cutting back on the candies and cookies, we also recommend that parents keep a careful watch on how often their kids eat. Having frequent meals like munching on chips and sipping on sodas can also cause cavities because of the food remaining in constant contact with the teeth.” A wiser option is to choose healthy snacks for you and your kids that won’t cause damage to the teeth. The next time you feel the need for a bite in between your regular meal times, you may want to munch on an apple instead. Your teeth will thank you for it.
So, the next time you go shopping, in addition to dental care products, you may also want to add these foods that will help you and your family in preventing tooth decay and other issues.
1. Fresh Fruit
Eating apples and other fresh fruits help keep your family healthy in more ways than one. For one, you satisfy the urge to eat something sweet. And, because fruits contain natural sugars, they stimulate the release of saliva in the mouth. The excess saliva, in turn, helps keep bacteria away that can cause cavities. Saliva also contains traces of calcium and phosphate that replenishes the minerals that have worn away in the teeth. Given a choice between a bag of chips that contain unnecessary calories, you may want to nourish your body with the nutrients present in fresh fruit. It’s win-win all the way.
2. Milk and Cheese
Milk and cheese are great for preventing tooth decay since they can neutralize the acidic effects of the carbs, starches, and other foods you eat. Further, like this feature on Medical Daily describes, studies have shown that milk, cheese, and other dairy products have the effect of restoring the pH levels in your mouth that get disturbed when you drink sweetened juices or eat sugary foods like cereal. An additional positive is that dairy foods can strengthen the enamel of your teeth because of the healthy levels of calcium they contain. If you don’t like the taste of milk or are lactose intolerant, add a cup of yogurt to every meal for healthy teeth.
Crunchy salads like cucumbers, celery, and carrots are also great for your teeth. Make it a point to have a side of salad with every meal that adds to the fiber content in your food and stimulates the release of more saliva.
4. Nuts, Beans, and Other Proteins
Surprisingly, the protein you eat can also help you in preventing tooth decay. Munch on a handful of nuts when you need a snack and make sure to add adequate protein to your diet. Nuts can also stimulate the release of saliva while containing calcium and phosphorus that are helpful in building bones. Adding other proteins like lean chicken, eggs, and other fat-free meat are also good for your teeth. And, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, eat lots of beans, legumes, and other protein-rich food.
5. Black and Green Tea
Tea contains polyphenols that destroy and prevent the growth of oral bacteria. These compounds are also helpful in neutralizing the acids that bacteria create in your mouth. Check out this article released by the University of Rochester Medical Center that recommends you brew tea in water containing fluoride to add to its benefits for preventing tooth decay.
6. Seafood like Fish, Lobsters, and Shellfish
Given that seafood is an excellent protein source, you may want to eat it regularly to maintain strong and healthy teeth. Further, results of studies published on Science Direct have shown that seafood is rich in fluoride that is again essential for preventing tooth decay and caries. Though, you may want to add other sources of fluorine to your diet as well.
Drinking a glass of wine after your meals can help you keep your teeth healthy. Wine contains compounds like proanthocyanidins. These compounds are well-known as antioxidants that can prevent bacteria from damaging your teeth. Incidentally, red wine has more of these vital antioxidants.
8. Sugarless Chewing Gum
Chewing on a stick of sugarless gum can also get the saliva flowing in your mouth. In addition, it keeps you from consuming unhealthy snacks when you simply feel the urge to munch without being really hungry. Further, chewing gum adheres to the particles of food stuck between your teeth and removes them. When choosing your gum, you may want to take care to pick the sugarless variety that does not contain sugar or artificial sweeteners.
9. Fluoridated Water
Drinking fluoridated water is one of the best ways of preventing tooth decay and maintaining oral health. You’ll flush out the food particles in your mouth, and keep your body hydrated so it can fight infections better.
While eating the wrong foods can cause a host of dental issues, the right foods can actually help you avoid them. Eat right and keep the cavities away.