We’ve almost all heard that sugar is bad for our teeth, but why? And are sugary foods the only ones that we should avoid to prevent tooth decay? Before we answer these questions, we need to understand tooth enamel and its importance.
What is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel is a hard substance that covers our teeth. It’s so hard, in fact, that it’s the hardest and most mineralized substance in our entire bodies.
Enamel protects our teeth from decay, so it’s very important to maintain. It’s also important to understand that enamel can’t grow back. So once you lose it, it’s gone for good. That’s why it’s so important to try to protect it.
But how do we protect our enamel? Obviously, the most important way to protect your teeth is with proper oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist often. However, the foods that you eat also have a huge impact on the health of your teeth and gums.
Foods that Cause Unhealthy Teeth
Here is a list of foods to try to limit or avoid entirely for the sake of protecting your enamel.
- Candies and Sugary Drinks – While you’ve probably heard to avoid candy and soda your whole life, there are more sugary drinks and foods that you may not be aware of. For example, sports drinks and gum may seem healthy but tend to have large amounts of sugar. So, be sure to check the label for sugar before getting into the habit of drinking or eating something that you thought was healthy.
- Ice – Ice is just frozen water, so it can’t be bad for your teeth, right? That may be the case when ice is used to chill your drinks, but it can be harmful when you chew on it. Any hard foods that require a lot of force to break can be detrimental to your oral health.
- Citrus – While most citrus fruits are refreshing, they’re also very acidic and have the side effect of breaking down your enamel. Watch your citrus intake to ensure that you’re not causing any harm to your teeth.
- Coffee and Tea – Black coffee and plain tea are rather healthy beverages on their own but not once sugar and creamer are added. If you’re a fan of that caffeine hit in the morning, try to limit or completely rid yourself of the additives of sugar and creamer. Your teeth will be thankful.
- Sticky Foods and Starch – Sticky foods and starch-filled foods are both prone to leaving behind particles of food in your mouth. If you want to eat a snack of dried fruit or potato chips, be sure to brush and floss immediately after to get rid of those particles that are prone to causing enamel decay.
Foods that Promote Healthy Teeth
Luckily, not all food is bad for your oral health. Here are a few food items that help strengthen your teeth.
- Water – Aside from water being the most healthy thing that you can drink, it also helps strengthen your teeth. Water contains fluoride, which helps your teeth fight any acid attacks that may try to decay your enamel.
- Dairy – Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are high in calcium and protein while also being low in sugar. That’s all great news for your teeth. However, beware of dairy products with added sugar, such as ice cream and flavored milk.
- Lean Protein – Most lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs are high in phosphorus and protein which lead to healthier teeth.
- Fruits and Vegetables – It’s no secret that fruits and veggies are an important part of any healthy diet, but did you know that they’re also good for your teeth? They’re high in both water and fiber which help strengthen your oral health.
Next Steps to Achieving a Beautiful Smile
While following these dietary tips is a great step towards a healthy mouth, it’s just a part of the bigger picture. Be sure to follow other oral hygiene procedures such as brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist every six months.
To learn more about how your diet affects your teeth or to schedule a check-up or cleaning, call us at 904-269-6558 or fill out our online form.