Your pediatric dentist probably told you as a child that what you ate would have a huge impact on how your teeth would develop. After a few years to test the waters, with cavities, braces and maybe a crown or two, was your dentist right?
As adults we realize that making healthy choices in our diet can transform the way we feel–and even how frequently we will need to see the dentist. Perhaps it’s time to take a long, hard look at your fridge and ask yourself, are you eating healthy for your teeth?
When Good Food Goes Bad
Even good-looking food can leave a bad taste in the mouth! Especially in sugary or starchy foods, the acids that are produced when food and sugars break down can slowly dissolve or damage the teeth, leading to tooth decay, damage or cavities.
So What Foods Are Healthy For Teeth?
Cheese, yogurt, and milk are excellent choices for our diet because they provide phosphorus and calcium, essential elements that remineralize our teeth. (Remineralization is when minerals are redeposited back onto our tooth enamel.) In addition, the calcium mixes with the plaque that sticks to our enamel, forming a protective coating on our teeth.
Other foods with hefty doses of calcium: certain fortified juices and broccoli.
Crunchy vegetables and fruits such as apples and celery act as ‘scrubbers’ against your enamel, which can brighten the shade of your pearly whites! The high water content also stimulates the production of saliva, which flushes out food particles that can otherwise stay and decay in your mouth. Saliva also contains enzymes that fight against acid and helps to prevent cavities.
Vegetables of the green leafy kind are not only high in calcium but also contain folic acid, and help promote oral health.
Sweet strawberries are high in vitamin C, which helps to keep your gums nice and healthy by stimulating collagen.
Fun fact: Crisp raw carrots helps keep your teeth nice and strong!
This Just In! fresh cranberries can prevent bacteria from evolving into plaque.
Foods That Are Not Your Friend
You already know that candy and soda are damaging, but these crowd favorites might surprise you:
Sad news for pickle lovers: the combination of acidic vinegar and sugar are practically lethal for your teeth.
Dried fruit might seem like a healthier choice compared to other snack options like chips and cookies, but the gooey, sugary consistency sticks in the crevices of your teeth, which is bad news!
Tomatoes have an incredibly high acid content, so it’s best to eat them as part of a meal and then swish water aftewards or brush your teeth.
Healthy Teeth Tips in San Francisco
We here at Golden Gate Dental know that it’s unrealistic to ask you to stop eating pickles and tomatoes. Even soda and candy are allowed once in awhile! There are some strategic tips that can mitigate the damaging effects of these foods:
- Brush your teeth after consuming sugary foods.
- If you can’t brush, swish! A swig or two of water will dislodge most food particles and rinse extra bacteria off of your teeth.
- Try incorporating the healthy options listed in conjunction with the ‘bad’ ones. (Chocolate and cheese, anyone?)
- Keep up your regular dental checkups! Your family dentist can remove much of the harmful bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot. Even simple, gentle dental care and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine can dramatically impact positive oral health.
General And Cosmetic Dentistry In San Francisco
Curious to learn more about healthier food choices for your teeth? Call us today at (415) 367-3444 to schedule an appointment! You can also find our office at 3200 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94118.