• The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Best (and Worst) Foods for Your Teeth

    best and worst foods for teethWe all know that a balanced diet is key to your overall health, but did you know that our food choices also play a major role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease?

    While some foods encourage tooth decay, others can actually help to prevent plaque buildup and strengthen teeth. Choosing a diet that’s good for your teeth goes beyond avoiding sugary candy, so here is a list of some of the best and worst foods for your teeth so you can improve the overall health of your mouth:

    The Good

    Leafy Greens

    Leafy greens like kale and spinach are loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients that benefit your teeth, particularly calcium and folic acid. Fibrous foods also stimulate saliva production which is one of your mouth’s best defenses against cavities and gum disease.

    Crunchy Produce

    Celery, apples, and carrots are at the top of the list for crunchy produce that benefit dental health. Not only are they a good source of vitamins and minerals, they’re very fibrous which helps to stimulate saliva production to wash away bacteria and food particles. They also act as a toothbrush, scraping away food particles and stimulating gums so enjoy them at the end of a meal if you won’t be able to brush your teeth right away.

    best food for teeth

    Green & Black Teas

    Tea contains polyphenols which prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth and green tea contains antioxidants which are great for overall health.

    Dairy Products

    Milk, cheese, and yogurt are some of the best foods for your teeth because of their high levels of calcium, phosphate, protein, and casein which strengthen tooth enamel and help with the remineralization of your teeth. Additionally, yogurt is loaded with probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, which help protect your gums from bad bacteria.

    The Bad

    worst foods for teeth

    Citrus

    Adding lemon to your water may add some pizazz, but it can also wear away at your enamel and aggravate mouth sores. While the occasional orange is fine, be careful about regular citrus intake like chewing on lemons or drinking citrus water because the high levels of acid in citrus are very hard on your enamel.

    Ice

    While you may think ice is okay to nosh on since it’s only water with no added sugars, it can actually be very bad for your teeth. Chewing on anything as hard as ice can damage your enamel and even lead to a dental emergency like a cracked tooth.

    Hard Candies

    Candies in general are some of the worst foods for cavities, but hard candies top the list because, just like ice, chewing on them can lead to cracked or damaged teeth.

    Soft Drinks

    Carbonated soft drinks are loaded with sugar and are actually the leading source of added sugar for kids and teens. While the sugar itself is bad enough, soft drinks are also acidic containing phosphoric and citric acids which damage your enamel.

    Sticky Foods

    Sticky foods stay on your teeth longer than other types of food, so make sure you brush and floss carefully after eating anything like sticky candies or even dried fruit.

    Eating for Dental Health

    Eating a good mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy every day is one of the best ways to keep your teeth healthy along with regular brushing and flossing. If you have any questions about how your diet may be affecting your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Hawkins Family Dental. Our knowledgeable dentists will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  

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