Oral health isn’t merely a matter of brushing, flossing, and making regular trips to the dentist. It’s about making smart choices about what you eat, and also what you drink.
Many of us will understand the importance on drinking water throughout the day. It helps regulate our body temperature, replenishing water lost through sweating, keepings your skin looking radiant. It also helps the body absorb nutrients and assists the digestive process in getting rid of waste from the body.
But what you may not realise is that staying hydrated is one important way to improve your oral health. Water helps to flush away bacteria and neutralise acids, both of which can cause tooth decay. So, if you want a happier mouth, let’s take a look at what foods you should eat and which ones to avoid.
Foods To Avoid
There are two food groups that are important to avoid if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It’s no surprise that one of these groups is sugary foods, but you might not be as familiar with the second group – acidic foods.
Sweets, chocolates, and sugary drinks are your teeth’s worst enemies. That’s because sugar interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, producing acid that attacks the enamel, leading to tooth decay. What’s even more concerning is that the risk increases with the number of times you eat sugar-laden foods, not just the amount. So, even small, frequent intakes of sugar can have an adverse effect on your oral health.
You would think that citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons, would be good for your health, and they are, but they are also high in acid content. So, while they do offer some essential nutrients, the acids they contain can erode your tooth enamel over time, making your teeth sensitive and more susceptible to cavities.
Even some seemingly harmless foods, such as tomatoes and certain salad dressings, can be acidic. Due to the benefits of these foods, you don’t have to avoid them altogether, however, just reduce your intake. Eating them as part of a larger meal will minimise your consumption of these acidic foods.
Foods To Eat
There are plenty of foods we enjoy eating, but how many of them are good for your teeth and gums? You’ll be happy to know that two of the biggest food groups are at the top of our list! These food groups are dairy and protein, and fruit and vegetables.
Dairy and Protein Foods
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich sources of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for healthy tooth enamel. These dairy products also contain casein, a protein that, along with calcium and phosphorous, forms a protective film on the enamel surface, helping to prevent cavities.
Consuming lean meats like chicken and fish, which are high in protein and low in saturated fat, can also contribute to good oral health. These proteins are necessary for tissue repair and can strengthen the structures that support your teeth.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables offer a double benefit for your oral health. First, they are low in sugar and high in water content. Second, eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, for example, apples and carrots, stimulates the production of saliva, which is your mouth’s natural way of washing away bacteria and food particles. Many fruits and vegetables also contain vitamin C, which is important for healthy gums and vitamin A, which is important for a healthy mucous membrane lining in the mouth.
While it’s not always easy to eliminate foods that are unhealthy for your teeth, understanding the impact they can have and taking steps toward minimising the frequency they are consumed can make a big difference to the health of your teeth. But by following some of the tips in this article, keeping your teeth and gums healthy and happy should be easy!
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