As we embark on a new year, many of us are eager to make positive changes in our lives. From career aspirations to health and fitness goals, the list is endless. However, one resolution that often gets overlooked is maintaining optimal oral health.
At Fine Art Dentistry, we understand that a dazzling smile not only boosts your confidence but is also a reflection of your overall well-being. That’s why our family dentists in Matthews, Dr. Harish Patel, D.M.D., and Dr. Stacey Alston, D.D.S., have created this blog to show you food for healthy teeth and gums and common foods that can compromise the health of your teeth. By avoiding these culprits, you’ll be well on your way to preserving your pearly whites and achieving a radiant smile throughout the year.
Can Food Affect Your Teeth?
The simple answer is yes! The adage “You are what you eat” holds particularly true for your teeth and gums. The food you eat does more than nourish your body; it can also feed the harmful bacteria in your mouth, potentially leading to tooth decay and gum disease. These bacteria are part of a sticky, invisible film called dental plaque that coats your teeth.
When dental plaque interacts with starches and sugars in your food or drink, it produces acids. These acids start to attack your teeth shortly after you eat, with repeated assaults potentially eroding the tough enamel on your teeth’s surface, leading to tooth decay and dental cavities. Moreover, the bacteria in plaque can trigger an inflammatory response, compromising the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of your teeth.
Top 5 Foods to Avoid for Healthy Teeth
Here are five foods notorious for their negative impact on your teeth:
1. Junks, Sugary Foods and Candies
Due to their high sugar content, junk foods and sugary treats, particularly sticky candies, are major enemies of dental health. When you consume foods high in sugar, the bacteria in your mouth feast on this sugar and produce acids as a byproduct. These acids can weaken tooth enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay. This is especially true for sticky or gummy sweets that cling to your teeth and sugary drinks that continuously bathe your teeth in sugar with every sip.
2. Acidic Foods and Beverages
Acidic foods and drinks, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages, can erode tooth enamel over time. Enamel erosion makes your teeth more susceptible to decay and can lead to tooth sensitivity and discoloration. While these foods can be part of a healthy diet, it’s important to consume them in moderation and practice good oral hygiene afterward.
3. Starchy Foods
Starchy foods like bread, chips, and pasta can also be problematic for teeth. These carbohydrates break down into simple sugars in the mouth. Bacteria then feed on these sugars and produce acid, which can lead to tooth decay. Starchy foods can also get stuck in your teeth, providing a constant food source for bacteria.
4. Hard and Chewy Foods
Hard and chewy foods can physically damage teeth. For example, biting down on hard candies or ice can lead to chipped or broken teeth. Similarly, chewy foods like dried fruit can stick to teeth, making it harder for saliva to wash away food particles and bacteria.
Consuming alcohol can lead to reduced saliva production, resulting in a dry mouth. This decrease in saliva, which normally helps to neutralize acids and wash away food particles, heightens the risk of gum disease and tooth decay due to increased acid activity.
What Foods Make Your Teeth Stronger?
It’s not all bad news, though. Certain foods can actually promote dental health.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in calcium and phosphorus, which strengthen teeth’s enamel. Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, provide essential nutrients, clean your teeth as you chew, and stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and rinse away food particles.
Additionally, fatty fish like salmon and almonds are great sources of vitamin D, which is crucial for oral health as it aids in calcium absorption, further fortifying teeth. Including these foods in your diet can significantly contribute to maintaining strong and healthy teeth.
Maintain Oral Health With Dental Care in Matthews, NC
Learning to maintain healthy teeth and gums doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of unlearning bad habits and learning new ones, and as your go-to family dentists in Matthews, NC, we’re happy to walk you down the path.
At Fine Art Dentistry, we help you achieve and maintain your oral health goals by giving you the right dental advice and providing you with the best dental care services in Matthews, NC. These services include teeth whitening, dental cleaning, fillings, crowns, veneers, and Invisalign to banish tooth decay and give you the smile of your dreams.
Ready to achieve and maintain your best smile? Schedule an appointment with our family dentists today.