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Food And Your Oral Health

Your teeth and mouth are meant for more than just talking and eating. Chewing and swallowing make up the first steps in the process of digestion. What you’re eating doesn’t only affect your stomach or hips, it also affects your oral health. Poor nutrition can impact your mouth without you realizing it. We know so much more about health and oral health today than ever before.

Brushing twice a day, combined with flossing is common knowledge to the general population. In addition to that knowledge, we now understand how food plays an essential role in our oral health. It is a vital part of keeping our teeth as healthy as possible. Even though genetics can take certain things out of our hands, we still have control over the upkeep of our teeth and gums. In addition to our toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, we can also keep our teeth and gums healthy by making strong food choices.

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

What you put into your mouth feeds you and can potentially feed plaque that’s trying to develop on your teeth. Certain foods can be harmful to your tooth enamel. Foods that are rich in fibre, such as fruits and vegetables, are an excellent choice because they prompt saliva generation, which helps rinse your mouth. Saliva neutralizes acids that can attack your teeth. It’s also beneficial for keeping your mouth clean, clear, and free of food particles.

  • Sticky Snacks

Just as we know that certain foods are not great for your body on an everyday basis, we also apply this knowledge to foods that can damage our teeth over time. One of the top foods is hard candies. How many of us have struggled to get a hard candy out from our teeth at Halloween or Christmas? Hard candies can damage your teeth by sneakily sticking around throughout the day between our teeth. In addition to that, the added sugar isn’t great either.

Another tricky sticky food is dried fruit. Mangos, dried apricots and apple slices can also get stuck between our teeth and remain there. Even those little dried fruit bits that are in your favourite trail mix can attach themselves to the inside of your mouth if you’re not careful. An easy tip is to rinse your mouth with water. A quick couple of sips of water helps flush out unwanted food particles that can promote tooth decay if not taken care of properly.

  • Foods That Go Crunch

Food And Your Oral Health

Many of us seek out snack products based on the great crunch they provide. Foods such as potato chips, pretzels, or a good party mix can leave your mouth with more than a good crunch. Fragments of these snack items can latch on to your teeth and gums. Again, rinsing with water is your best step if you aren’t able to brush or floss afterward.

Other top contenders for crunchy bandits that linger in your mouth are:

    • chewing on ice
    • popcorn
    • peanut brittle
    • crackers
  • Added Sugar Is Added Trouble

We try to be mindful and moderate our sugar intake. However, what we often don’t know is how much sugar is added to foods we’re eating. Items we enjoy as a treat or daily can be harmful to our teeth because of the added sugar involved — some items you wouldn’t suspect, because they are savoury as opposed to sweet. Here are ten food items that may have more sugar than you’re bargaining for:

    • low-fat yogurt
    • ketchup & bbq sauce
    • spaghetti sauce
    • granola & breakfast cereals
    • pre-made soup
    • cereal bars
    • canned fruit
    • canned baked beans
  • Beverages And Sugar

Some households put a kibosh on sugary drinks such as soda. In other homes, soda and juice were available. However, drinks such as smoothies, fruit juices, and even those fancy beverages at Starbucks can have added sugar, which can be bad for your teeth. Other everyday drinks such as coffee or tea (including some herbal teas) can stain your teeth. It’s entirely all right to have your daily cup (or cups), but rinsing your mouth with water afterward is a good practice to follow so you’re not leaving residue in your mouth. If you’re a fan of having fun drinks, take a minute and read the label.

For your consideration, here are seven beverages that may contain more sugar than you’re seeking:

    • fruit juices & vitamin water
    • sports drinks
    • flavoured coffees & iced tea
    • chocolate milk
    • bottled smoothies

Food And Your Oral Health

Good News and Good Food

Now that we’ve covered foods to be wary of, let’s put some positive emphasis on the foods that can assist you in maintaining good oral health. Nutrient- and protein-filled foods aid in total body health along with your teeth and gums. What you want to do is to give your body as many nutrients as possible. So let’s talk about filling your fridge and cupboards with some of these fresh and hearty suggestions.

  • Dairy

These foods are filled with good nutrients and loaded with calcium. Calcium keeps the jawbones healthy and the teeth strong. It’s also important for the maintenance and function of muscles and blood vessels.

    • cheese
    • milk
    • plain yogurt
    • calcium-fortified foods
    • leafy greens & broccoli
    • almonds
  • Proteins

Foods that are higher in protein contain required nutrients, including phosphorus. Phosphorus is the second highest mineral found in the body. It plays a critical role in dental health by protecting and helping rebuild tooth enamel. Protein also helps to build muscle, something we can all get behind. Take a look at our list below and consider how much of these food items you’re eating daily:

    • chicken
    • beef
    • fish
    • eggs

Food And Your Oral Health

If you’re an adventurous meat-eater, get daring and try some tofu! Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all made from soybeans, which are a complete source of protein. Tofu has a very delicate flavour, and usually takes on the taste of anything that it’s cooked with. Adding tofu to your chicken stir-fry could give you some added protein along with great taste.

Food And Your Oral Health

  • Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

You knew we were coming here, didn’t you?

Vegetables have been talked about since the dawn of time. Their health benefits are enormous for a plethora of reasons; reasons that affect your teeth are because fruits and vegetables contain water and are high in fibre. In addition, such foods stimulate saliva production, which helps clean the teeth.

We’ve talked a lot about drinking water to rinse the mouth of food particles and potential residue from beverages. Saliva is your body’s way of naturally assisting in neutralizing harmful acids from food, thereby protecting the teeth from decay. Many of the fruits and vegetables listed below contain Vitamin C (good for healthy gums) and Vitamin A (a key nutrient in building tooth enamel).

    • leafy greens
    • apples
    • celery
    • carrots

Food And Your Oral Health

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that’s been covered, don’t be. Most of this you probably already know and have in your fridge at home. If you still have questions about food and your oral health, talk to your dentist at your next appointment.

If you need a dentist and live in the Oshawa or Courtice area, call Simcoe Smile Dental at (289) 312-1482, or use our contact page to reach us. Dr. Todd and Dr. Opler can help you understand what foods are good for your oral health.


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