When caring for our oral health, it is important to be mindful of what foods will nourish our teeth and gums, as well as what foods to avoid. Nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains stimulate saliva production. Saliva is the body’s natural defense against cavities and decay. Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorus, such as dairy, nuts, and seeds, help build strong teeth and bones. As an added benefit, these minerals also strengthen the enamel on your teeth. On the other hand, a diet high in sugar, carbohydrates, and starches can increase your risk for tooth decay. These foods are also high in acid, which wears away at enamel and causes cavities. Here is a list of foods and beverages that can affect our oral health:
Sugar, especially in the form of soft drinks, has been shown to increase the risk of decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar, and as they do, they produce acid that eats away tooth enamel.
Sweet potatoes, quinoa, and whole grains contain a lot of starch. Starchy foods can cause cavities and gum disease. Starchy foods tend to cling to teeth, increasing the risk of cavities. Starchy foods can also cause bad breath.
Hard foods, such as hard candies, are more difficult to chew and may cause us to put more force on our teeth than is required. This can cause our teeth to chip, crack, or fracture.
Sticky foods like dried fruits, gummy candies, and caramels stick to your teeth and are difficult to remove. These foods can be high in sugar and acidity, which can contribute to tooth decay. In addition, sticky foods can accumulate around brackets and wires. You should avoid sticky foods as possible as you can.
Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, and limes, are healthy, but they’re also very acidic. Acids weaken tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. They also contain a lot of sugar, one of the substances that damage tooth enamel.
Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots, should be used sparingly. The drying process increases the concentration of sugar and dries out many of the beneficial nutrients, making dried fruits less nutritious than fresh fruit. Excessive dried fruit consumption can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, can erode the enamel on your teeth. When an acidic drink or food comes in contact with your teeth, it latches onto the enamel and begins to dissolve it. The acid can begin to erode the enamel, which can weaken your teeth.
Alcohol is one of the worst things for your oral health. Drinking alcohol can leave you with a dry mouth, which will increase your risk of cavities. It can also cause stains on your teeth and irritate your gums. Alcohol also increases your risk of oral cancers and gum disease and places you in danger of facial trauma.
Any type of smoking or tobacco product is bad for your oral health. These products cause stains on your teeth while also increasing the risk of infections, gum disease, and oral cancer. Cigarette smoking is also linked to several types of cancer.
The dentist at Dental Specialists of North Florida can help you keep your teeth healthy. We have two dental offices in Florida. Contact us from your nearest location or visit our website to book an appointment.