The Best (and Worst) Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth
When you brush and floss regularly, it’s easy to assume you’re doing a thorough job of taking care of your teeth. Don’t get too complacent, however. If you’re limiting your efforts toward oral health to these bare essentials, you could be damaging your teeth as much as you’re helping them.
Your diet is just as important to healthy teeth as your toothbrush. And while you’re likely aware of obvious foods that can take a toll on your smile, there are many others, just as damaging, that you may not be aware of.
The good news is there are many options for food that support healthy teeth. By adding these to your grocery list and replacing damaging choices, you will be making great strides in improving your dental health. Here are some ideal choices:
Generally associated with strong bones, a diet high in calcium is also wonderful for your teeth and gums. This vital mineral helps keep teeth strong, prevents tooth decay and protects enamel. Get your necessary intake of calcium through these foods:
One of the best sources available, with skim versions being your healthiest option.
A tasty alternative to milk, with cottage cheese being one of the lowest-fat options. Cheese can also lower the acid levels in your mouth that contribute to tooth decay.
In addition to calcium, almonds contain a variety of elements that lead to stronger teeth. You may want to skip these if you’re wearing traditional braces, as they can damage the brackets and wires.
Great Choices for Vitamin D
Increasing the amount of Vitamin D you get each day helps your body absorb calcium. Dairy products in general are a great choice, as they contain both of these, and you can’t go wrong with other options such as:
Options that are considered “fatty,” like salmon or tuna, are healthy, delicious options and are considered some of the best ways to get this vitamin through food.
Another option with lots of Vitamin D that’s found in the yolk. If you need to stick to egg whites for dietary reasons, this won’t be as effective a source.
This low-fat option also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Now that you’ve updated your shopping list, let’s look at what you need to cross off it. These foods are considered some of the worst options for dental health and should either be eliminated or severely reduced in your daily diet.
We all know how bad sugar is for our teeth, so make a commitment to cut it out even further to protect your teeth like you should:
Grab a teaspoon. Imagine roughly nine of those full of sugar. That’s what you’re putting into your body with every single can of Coke.
While this seems like a healthy option, many varieties are “enhanced” with entirely too much sugar.
Certain brands may be marketed as healthier options, but most of what’s available will ultimately be detrimental to tooth health. Check labels for sugar content before you buy.
Highly Acidic Options
Many foods that are great choices for overall health can be bad choices for our teeth. High acidity in foods can erode tooth enamel, causing decay and discoloration. Think twice before consuming too much of these:
Citrus Fruit and Drinks:
Lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruit all contain high concentrations of citric acid. Juices and drinks made from these are equally damaging.
Coffee and Caffeinated Drinks:
Not only are these high in acidity, but caffeine also causes you to lose water, which can dehydrate your mouth.
White and wheat varieties are particularly guilty. Try sprouted grain options instead.
By considering your diet an essential element of your dental health, you’ll be giving your teeth additional strength and longevity. You’ll also benefit from a healthier diet, so it’s a true win/win situation. So the next time you reach for something to satisfy your hunger or thirst, think twice about whether your smile might frown upon it.