A healthy diet makes healthy teeth, but also avoiding certain foods and drinks can increase the longevity and vitality of your smile for years to come. What foods are good to eat to have healthy teeth? What foods aren’t? We can give you all the tips you could ever want to give your teeth the best possible chance to stay strong. We can also help you with foods and habits The American Dental Association recommends avoiding. At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we want the best in oral health for our patients. Come learn more about how you can have healthy teeth that will last a lifetime!
Foods You Should Avoid (or Eat Sparingly)
- Sodas/Sports Drinks – These beverages are the worst for your tooth enamel. Sodas and sports drinks are known for being chalked full of sugar. Many of these drinks are also acidic (especially energy drinks), meaning they erode your tooth enamel over time.
- Hard Candies – Chewing these can lead to chipped or broken teeth. Sucking on hard candies (including mints and cough drops) can also expose your teeth to sugar for a long period of time, which is something you don’t want.
- Chewy Candies – Chewy candy is known to stick to the teeth a lot more than other foods. You never want candy to sit on your enamel, as the sugar will mix with bacteria and cause tooth decay. Time is all sugar needs to cause damage.
- Candy in General – You might notice a trend here. Candy in general is full of sugar. The bad bacteria in your mouth loves to mix with sugar to make plaque, which then erodes the enamel and causes cavities. Brush often if you eat a lot of candy, or just cut back in general, which is healthier for your diet.
- Ice – Although ice is just hardened water, it is a major no-no when it comes to your oral health. Chewing on ice can chip and crack teeth very easily. Enjoy your iced drink, but don’t chew on the ice!
- Citrus Fruits – Exposure to acidic foods can easily erode tooth enamel. The same goes for citrus drinks such as lemonade or orange juice. Any food or beverage that is known to be acidic is much harsher on your enamel. Fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, wine and more are all known to be acidic foods and therefore worse for your teeth than other options.
- Coffee – This can easily stain your tooth enamel, especially if ingested often. If you enjoy a daily morning coffee, make sure you also enjoy a good morning brush.
Foods That Contribute to Healthy Teeth
- Sugar-Free Foods – Love the taste of sweets but don’t want the sugar? Try a sugar-free alternative that won’t lead to tooth decay!
- Some Teas – Black tea can help halt plaque buildup on the teeth by blocking some bacteria’s ability to clump together and stick to your teeth.
- Cheese and Milk – Cheese has a lower acidic level than many other foods and can neutralize plaque acid. Milk also aids in plaque neutralization, but not all dairy products do.
- Nutrient-Rich Foods – Foods (dairy, almonds, meat, eggs, fish, etc.) with higher calcium and phosphorous help the teeth stay healthier and stronger.
How You Can Have Healthy Teeth
We provide helpful oral hygiene instructions for our patients to help them stay on the path for excellent oral health. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Brush Properly – Brush at least twice a day. If you drink or eat acidic foods (citrus fruits, sodas, etc.) wait a little bit before brushing so that the acid on your teeth doesn’t take off some of your enamel when you brush. Don’t brush too hard as you can wear away your gum tissue. Make sure to brush your tongue and the roof of the mouth and replace your toothbrush every 1-2 months as well.
- Floss Thoroughly BEFORE You Brush – This can remove trapped food and particles in areas where a toothbrush can’t reach and will help your teeth be cleaner when you finish with proper brushing.
- Use Mouthwash – This promotes dental health by killing bacteria in the mouth that produce plaque. You can use a fluoride mouthwash as well to strengthen tooth enamel.
- Avoid Tobacco – Tobacco greatly increases your risk for periodontal (gum) disease and oral cancer. Plus, it stains the enamel. Just avoid it!
- Minimize the Sugar – The bad bacteria in your mouth loves to mingle with sugar to make the plaque that erodes your tooth enamel and leads to tooth decay and gum disease. The more sugar you eat, the more time plaque has to erode your tooth enamel.
- Eat Good Foods – Make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Eating nutrient-rich and natural foods will help you avoid all the sugar and acids that processed foods contain. A more nutritious diet leads to healthy teeth.
- Get Checkups and Cleanings – Come in to see us AT LEAST twice a year for your cleanings and exams! This will ensure that tooth decay and gum disease don’t progress and the mouth stays healthy.
A nutritious diet and good oral hygiene can help you avoid tooth decay, gum disease, fractures and more. It can also help diminish the buildup of plaque that contributes to these problems. By following these simple guidelines, you can keep your oral health in excellent shape for years to come. As always, remember to schedule regular cleanings and checkups with our Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office at (970) 223-8425!