Five Things You Should Avoid for Optimal Dental Health
Five Foods to Avoid for Optimal Dental Health
1. Acidic Foods
When you consume foods or drinks that have a high acidic concentration, it is detrimental to your tooth's enamel.
The levels of acid will increase in your mouth, for example, when you drink soda, fruit juice, and red wine, or eat citrus fruits, tomatoes, and pickles.
The more you eat and drink acidic foods and beverages, the more your tooth enamel will become eaten away.
While some people may believe they have a firm understanding of what is acidic, and what isn't, these foods and beverages aren't always as evident as they seem.
For example, some breakfast items, bread, and fish are classified as being acidic.
What can you do? The recommendation is to eat and drink acidic foods in moderation. If you're going to eat orange slices or any other kind of acidic food, it's a good idea to rinse with water afterward or chew sugarless gum. In doing so, you'll help neutralize the acid in your mouth.
2. Foods with Low or No Nutritional Value
Everyone likes to indulge in junk food treats on occasion, and while these aren't always the best choices, they aren't going to cause harm in moderation.
However, when a diet consists of significant amounts of food choices with poor nutritional value, your oral health will suffer.
The main reason for this is that, in order to fight infections, your immune system requires a balance of vitamins and minerals.
What should you do? By selecting a nutrient-rich diet, you're increasing your chances of having a healthier smile.
For example, if you eat foods that are high in phosphorus, like beans, dairy, eggs, fish, lean meat, and nuts, you're more likely to have stronger teeth. You can also get stronger teeth by eating calcium-rich foods like almonds, cheese, green leafy vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk, and yogurt.
3. Sticky Foods
When you eat foods that are chewy or sticky, they're more likely to cause decay because they stay on your teeth longer.
It isn't uncommon for these sticky particles to remain on your teeth even after rinsing with water or after you brush your teeth. Some of the culprits include caramel, fudge, and taffy.
What should you do? When you eat sticky foods as part of your main meal, the extra saliva in your mouth will help rinse the particles off your teeth. When you're snacking throughout the day, it becomes more of a problem of how often you eat versus the sticky foods you select.
4. Sugary Foods
Acidic foods and beverages aren't the only culprits for causing the acid levels in your mouth to rise.
When you consume foods with high sugar content, the sugar mixes with the bacteria in your mouth to produce high levels of bacteria.
According to research conducted for the Journal of Dental Research, "Pathological factors mentioned are bacteria and ingestion of fermentable carbohydrates (sugars); protective factors include salivary flow and fluoride exposure."
What can you do? Unfortunately, in this day and age, it's difficult to avoid sugar in foods because just about everything we eat and drink contains some level of sugar. If you attempt to eliminate sugar entirely from your diet, you may be cutting out other critical nutrients.
However, you can eliminate foods that have added sugars like molasses, honey, and glucose.
5. Supersizing Foods
When we go to restaurants and opt to supersize our portions, we're doing ourselves a disservice to our overall health, as well as our oral health.
According to Penn State University, "Nutritionists tell us we have an obesity epidemic in our country. One of the problems is an unrealistic idea of appropriate portion size. Our restaurants are offering larger portion sizes and even supersizing the portions."
Therefore, we're drinking more soda and eating more sugary condiments and other sticky or acidic foods when visiting fast-food restaurants.
What can you do? Consider avoiding fast-food restaurants altogether, and instead of super-sizing when going out to eat, select a regular or small-sized meal.
You could also choose water instead of soda, and salads with non-acidic dressings.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, there is a myriad of food options you should stay away from to achieve optimal dental health.
In doing so, not only will you experience better dental check-ups each time you go in for a cleaning, but you'll also maintain your smile for a longer time.
Ultimately, the goal is for our teeth to last us a lifetime. If we continue to avoid the foods that are detrimental to our smiles, we're fighting half the battle.
Visit your dentist for routine cleanings and check-ups to ensure you'll maintain your dental health.