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How Diet Impacts Your Dental Health

model smiling and holding oranges in front of her eyes
Author: mcymer Posted: May 6th, 2021 Category:

Some foods can help improve your dental health, while others contribute to tooth decay. Learn more about how your diet impacts your teeth. 

From a young age, we’re taught that candy, soda, and other sugary foods can cause cavities. But most people don’t know there are other foods that can negatively impact our dental health, too. At the same time, there are plenty of foods that actually strengthen and protect your teeth. 

Improving your dietary habits can go a long way towards maintaining healthy, strong teeth. To understand more about the link between diet and dental health, let’s discuss some of the key ways our diet affects our teeth. 

Foods That Can Harm Your Teeth

For optimal dental health, it’s best to avoid certain foods. Harmful foods can increase your risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay, and break down your enamel. Parts of your diet that may be harming your teeth include: 

  • Sugary foods. The reason sugary foods are bad for your teeth is because they contribute to plaque buildup. Sugar creates an extra amount of plaque on the surface of your teeth, and the bacteria in plaque release harmful acids that break down your enamel. 
  • Acidic foods. Since acid created by sugary foods can damage your enamel, it may come as no surprise that acidic foods can have similar effects. Unsweetened acidic foods like oranges, limes, and tomatoes cause minimal damage, as long as you mix them with other foods. However, acidic and sugary foods — soda, for example — are a recipe for dental distress. 
  • Sticky and chewy foods. Foods that are sticky or chewy can remain on the surface of your teeth for a long time, leading to increased exposure to acids and plaque buildup. Watch your intake of dried fruit, and especially hard candy. 
  • Snacking. Saliva is one of your mouth’s most important defenses against tooth decay. When you eat many small snacks, your mouth produces less saliva than when you stick to three meals a day. With lower saliva levels, your teeth have less defense against plaque buildup. 

Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

It’s no secret that sugary foods can harm your teeth. But did you know that there are plenty of foods that can actually improve your dental health and protect your teeth from decay? 

Some of the best dietary choices include: 

  • High-calcium foods. Because tooth enamel has a high calcium concentration, calcium is perhaps the most important mineral for healthy and strong teeth. Calcium-rich foods like unsweetened dairy and almonds can help to strengthen enamel, and even regenerate enamel that has been damaged.
  • Foods rich in vitamins. A few key vitamins play an important role in the fight against tooth decay. The most prominent are vitamin A, which strengthens enamel, and vitamin C, which helps to prevent plaque from damaging your gums. 
  • Foods that contain helpful minerals. Aside from calcium, there are a few other minerals that can help your teeth remain healthy and strong. Foods rich in phosphorus, like lentils and whole grains, can contribute to healthy enamel development. 
  • Water. Water helps to wash food particles away from the surface of your teeth, preventing plaque buildup. Plus, it contains no acids, sugars, carbonation, or other components that can damage enamel. Water with fluoride strengthens your enamel even further. 

Take Care of Your Smile at Espire

Improving your dental health starts with a good diet. But healthy teeth can’t come from diet alone — you also need to maintain strong dental care habits. Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily are cornerstones of healthy teeth.

Getting regular checkups and cleanings at your dentist (recommended twice per year) are just as important in keeping your teeth clean and healthy. For all your regular dental care needs, Espire offers experienced dentists with a patient focus. To see for yourself why Espire is a cut above, contact us today for an appointment. Your smile is too important to wait!