It’s no secret that today’s families are on the go.
Between work, school and kids activities, there’s not a lot of time to focus on what we eat and drink. We grab and go… and that often means quick and convenient snack foods that are filled with empty calories and carbohydrates washed down with sugary sodas and sweetened fruit drinks.
We all know that foods and drinks with minimal nutritional value can do to our bodies, but did you know that over time they can greatly affect your teeth?
The American Dental Association says that what we eat (and when) are both major factors when it comes to dental health.
Sugar, combined with bacteria in the mouth, produces acid attacks teeth for 20 minutes or more.
What does that mean for our teeth? Cavities… and lots of them.
You are what you eat and so are your teeth.
Use this healthy foods list to improve your diet – and keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong:
Who doesn’t love cheese? What’s great about it is that it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if that isn’t enough… grab it for a tasty snack. Eating cheese raises the pH in the mouth, lowering the risk of tooth decay and the simple act of chewing it increases saliva. Plus, it has calcium and protein – both nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.
Not only is yogurt packed with calcium and protein, the probiotics found in yogurt are great for the gums because the good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria that cause cavities. When choosing yogurt, go for the plain variety with no added sugar.
We’re always told to eat more greens if we’re looking at creating a healthier diet and lifestyle. When it comes to promoting oral health, kale and spinach are top-notch choices because they are high in calcium and build up enamel. Getting more greens into your diet is easy! Toss some spinach into your salad or on your next pizza. Greens can even be added to your morning smoothie.
Apples may be sweet, but they contain a lot of fiber and water. If you can’t brush right away after a meal, chomp on an apple — it produces saliva which rinses away bacteria and food particles and its fibrous texture is also great for the gums. It’s not the same as brushing your teeth with toothpaste, but it can suffice until you have a chance to brush.
Carrots are also crunchy and full of fiber. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production, which reduces your risk of cavities. They are also a great source of vitamin A.
Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Enjoy a quarter cup of almonds with your lunch or add handful to a salad or cup of cottage cheese.
What are some of your favorite teeth-healthy foods and how do you incorporate them into your daily eating habits?
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate about providing top-quality, comprehensive dental care. He is located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee.