Healthy teeth and healthy eating have a direct relationship. Yes, what you eat matters! Learn how your diet impacts your smile and what you can do to help fortify your teeth from the inside out. Eating a balanced diet is important for your overall health as well as the health of your teeth. Certain food choices greatly impact the strength, color, appearance, and health of your gums and mouth. Regardless of your age, there are foods that supply essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to the stability and chemistry of your teeth. Educate yourself on how you can eat for a better smile today and tomorrow. Our Fort Collins dental team can help answer any questions you may have on nutrition and your teeth during one of your visits with us.
Healthy teeth start with healthy food choices. Here are some teeth-friendly foods to add to your pantry shelves:
Just as there are foods that can help you establish and maintain healthy teeth, there also many foods that do the opposite. While cookies, candies, soda and other sugary foods may be obvious saboteurs, watch out for foods high in carbohydrates and starches as well. Starches and sugars from pretzels, breads and potato chips can cause tooth decay just as quickly as candy. The biggest factor to how your teeth will fare against the foods you eat depends on the amount of time that passes between eating and brushing your teeth. If you are going to indulge in sugary foods, make sure and brush your teeth soon after. The following list of foods can wreak havoc on your teeth so watch out:
Think sugar substitutes are the way to go? Think again. Sugar substitutes (Splenda, Equal and Sunett, aspartame, erythritol, saccharin, sucralose, isomalt, sorbitol, acesulfame potassium and mannitol) have the appearance and taste of sugar but they don’t promote decay-causing acids in your mouth that erode your teeth. But, don’t go overboard there. It is still better to put natural sugars in your body–like from fruits, milk and some vegetables–than to turn to other options.
An important thing to keep in mind when making food choices that not ALL sugars are bad. Your body needs some sugars to operate correctly. “We actually need sugar; it’s our body’s preferred fuel,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. The trick is to make sure you don’t ingest more than you should. Natural occurring sugars found in fruits, some vegetables, and milk are perfectly healthy. It’s ADDED sugar (sweeteners put in during processing and prep) that we need to moderate.Your body DOES need carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar in your body. This sugar is essential for your body to create energy to survive. But, it is not necessary to include sugary foods or added sugars in the diet in order for your body to produce energy.
In November 2015, the Food and Drug Administration recommended people over the age of 3 eat no more than 50 grams of sugar a day and it should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories. Monitor the amount of sugars you are consuming by making a habit of reading food labels. Ingredients on food labels are listed according to amount so if sugar is high on the list, beware. Since bacteria in your mouth feeds off of carbohydrates, reducing sugar and other sources of simple carbohydrates–that are easily fermentable–can help reduce cavities.
If you would like to know more about healthy teeth, nutrition and what you can do to preserve your smile, or if you would like to make an appointment, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-8425. You can also reach us after office hours by submitting a contact or appointment request online using the form below.