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The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Redhead woman holding soda refreshment with a happy face standing and smiling with a confident smile showing teeth
Author: mcymer Posted: August 19th, 2021 Category:

Just as some foods can damage your teeth and enamel, other foods can improve your dental health.

It’s common knowledge that what you eat impacts your dental health. Starchy and sugary foods can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which is why you should only consume sweets and sodas in moderation. However, those aren’t the only food choices that can be detrimental to your oral health. Just as some foods can damage your teeth and enamel, other foods can improve your dental health, and we share five of the best and worst below.

Five Of The Best Foods For Your Dental Health

Cheese

With high levels of calcium and phosphate, cheese strengthens your teeth. Cheese also contains casein and whey protein, which help rebuild enamel that may have been stripped away by sugar or acidic foods and drinks. Consuming cheese can also help balance your mouth’s pH level, reducing your risk of cavities.

High-Fiber Foods

Not only are high-fiber foods like beans, kale, broccoli, and spinach excellent for your cholesterol levels and digestion, but they are also beneficial for your dental health. High-fiber foods require lots of chewing, which produces more saliva. Containing calcium and phosphate, saliva is your body’s natural defense against tooth decay. It can restore minerals to your teeth, wash away debris and acids, and combat harmful bacteria.

Apples

Though they are high in acid, apples contain many vitamins that improve your gums’ health as well as natural, acid-neutralizing sugars. Their fibrous texture and crisp skin stimulate saliva production as you chew, helping deliver and restore nutrients to your teeth’s enamel.

Lean Proteins

Eating lean proteins — such as eggs, fish, and poultry — is also beneficial for your dental health. These lean proteins can improve your bone density while protecting your enamel.

Carrots

While carrots are known for improving eyesight and lowering cholesterol levels, they’re also advantageous for your teeth’s health. Beyond stimulating saliva production, chewing carrots breaks apart your teeth’s plaque, thanks to their rough texture. 

Carrots are high in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. As a result, eating carrots can improve your skin, vision, and immune system, in addition to building your tooth enamel and keeping your gums healthy.

Five Of The Worst Foods For Your Dental Health

Soda

It’s no surprise that drinking soda is one of the worst things you can do for your oral health. Soda is both sugary and full of citric and phosphoric acid. Each time you take a sip of soda, the sugars interact with the bacteria in your mouth and form acid, which attacks your enamel.

Hold off on drinking soda throughout the day. Instead, drink a can of soda during a meal to reduce the amount of time your teeth are exposed to harmful acids and allow your food to neutralize the acid.

Coffee and Tea

Many people start their day with a cup of coffee, but coffee stains are more persistent than tobacco stains. Coffee is high in tannins — a family of naturally occurring, water-soluble polyphenols — which help chromogens stick to your teeth’s enamel, resulting in increased staining. Unfortunately, black teas can stain your teeth, as they contain tannins, too.

Citrus Fruits

Consuming citrus fruits or juices — particularly grapefruit and lemon juice — can be harmful to your oral health, as they are incredibly acidic. They can erode your teeth’s enamel over time, putting you at higher risk of tooth decay.

Chewy Candy

Chewy candies can stick to your teeth and get stuck between your teeth, creating the perfect environment for the sugar to interact with your mouth’s bacteria and form acid. Additionally, sour gummies introduce additional erosive acid to your mouth.

Hard Candy

Like chewy candy, hard candy is harmful to your oral health. Not only can hard candies chip your teeth, but they dissolve slowly. This gives the candy’s sugars and the bacteria in your mouth more time to interact and produce enamel-stripping acid.

Tips On Reducing Tooth Decay

Drinking enough water throughout the day is both hydrating and helpful for battling tooth decay. Water washes away sugars and acids and often delivers fluoride, a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel. Cutting back on snacks will also help, as snacking provides the bacteria in your mouth with a steady supply of sugars and starches to form acid.

If you’re concerned about how your diet has affected your oral health or believe you have tooth decay, schedule a dental consultation at Espire today.