When you choose food to eat, you will probably think about how many calories are in it or about the carbs, fat or sugar it contains but you will rarely look at a plate of food and think about how the different foods affect your oral health like your gums and teeth. At Cardinal Park Family Dental, we want our patients to understand how different foods affect your oral health so that you can choose to eat a healthy diet for both your body as well as your oral health. Find out how you can achieve a healthier smile in Leesburg.
Your Diet and Tooth Decay
With an unhealthy diet comes plaque, tartar, bacteria and tooth decay. Depending on the types of food and beverages you consume, it’s likely that the food or drinks that you consume can cause cavities and tooth decay. There are a lot of different factors that play a direct role in tooth decay in your mouth. This includes the form of the food. Liquid, sticky, solid and food that is slow to dissolve all make a difference. For example, sticky food is hard to get off your teeth which will be more harmful than a solid food that doesn’t stick to your teeth. Another factor that plays a role in how often you consume foods and drinks that are high in sugar or are acidic.
The nutrition facts of the food also play a role. In addition, the combinations of food you eat together as well as the order you eat them in can play a role. Lastly, if you have a medical condition like gastrointestinal reflux or an eating disorder this might also increase your risk of weak teeth, cavities and tooth decay.
Snacking Affects You Dental Health Negatively
If you’re a snacker, this is bad news for you. Dentists recommend that patients try to limit the amount of snacking or drinking between meals, especially if they are unhealthy snacks like chips or some sort of sweets. These are foods more likely to promote dental decay. If you can’t give up snacking, at least opt for healthier options like fruits, vegetables, low sugar dairies like cheese or yogurt or even nuts. These types of foods are much better for your teeth and overall health.
Different Foods that are Bad for Your Teeth
You will find that foods that are high in sugars or carbohydrates typically are the ones that are worse for your teeth. The foods you should steer clear of include candies and other empty calorie foods like cakes, muffins, chips, and cookies. It’s not the calories that we are concerned with, it’s the sugar that is in these foods. Usually, foods that are high in carbs are also high in sugar. When you eat sugar, the sugar sticks to your teeth. When it isn’t immediately cleaned off, it will stay on and develop plaque. Without proper cleaning, plaque turns into tartar and tartar turns into cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, so unless you want to give your mouth bacteria an all-you-can-eat buffet to dental problems, it’s best to eat sugary snacks in moderation, or at least clean your mouth after eating them.
Another concern dentists have today is the number of sugary drinks that Americans consume on a daily basis. It’s common for most people to drink sugary lattes or juice for breakfast, have a soda with lunch and then go on to drink wine or beer with their dinner. Constantly sipping on sugar throughout the day is a quick way to find yourself in our Leesburg dentist office getting your cavities filled. In addition, the acids in sodas have a negative effect on your enamel. When you drink acidic drinks like colas, the acid in the soda eats away at your enamel. When your enamel is damaged, your teeth have a harder time fighting off bacteria and other harmful substances. This makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.
Are Sugar Substitutes Healthy for Your Teeth?
Now that you know about the harmful effects of sugar to your teeth, you’re probably wondering if sugar substitutes are okay. If you like sugar alternatives, you’re in luck, they do not cause the same harm to your teeth as traditional sugar. Sugar substitutes do not carry the decay-causing acids in your mouth that lead to tooth decay and cavities. If you want a soda to drink, you might want to choose the sugar-free version to better protect your teeth.
Foods that Can Benefit Your Dental Health
Now that you know all about the different foods that can harm your dental health, it’s important to also be able to recognize foods that benefit your dental health so you know what kinds of foods you should opt for. Some of the best foods you can eat to benefit your dental health are ones that are low in sugar and typically high in protein. We recommend eating milk, cheese, leafy greens, almonds, plain yogurt and even tofu because they are high in calcium. Any foods that are high in calcium help your teeth stay strong. We also recommend protein-rich foods for their source of phosphorus including fish, eggs, milk, meat, and milk. Phosphorous protects your teeth and helps rebuild your enamel.
Other healthy choices for your teeth are fruits and vegetables due to their high water content. The high water content helps balance out the sugars in these foods. The water helps clean your teeth and stimulate saliva productions which helps wash out harmful acids and small food particles from your teeth. In addition, it neutralizes the acid in your mouth which protects you from decay. Foods high in vitamin C are also great because vitamin C helps promote healthy gums and quick healing of wounds. Lastly, foods rich in vitamin A are smart choices because vitamin A is a key ingredient for your tooth enamel strength.
Visit Our Leesburg Dentist for Further Advice
If you want to enhance the health of your smile even more than with just eating healthier, it’s time to visit us at our Leesburg dentist office for a complete checkup and dental exam. Our dentist will give you any preventive dentistry you need to keep your mouth healthy! Give us a call today to schedule an appointment or fill out our online form and we will contact you.