Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is essential for a healthy body. What you eat also has a deep effect on your mouth, most notably your teeth and gums. Your food choices play a role in either aiding or preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
According to the American Dental Association, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs may show up in your oral health. The ADA has come up with a list of the top nine foods that damage teeth.
- Hard candy
- Chewy foods, like dried fruit
- Crunchy foods, like potato chips
- Sports Drinks
The ADA says that empty calorie foods including candy, cookies, cakes and muffins can be problematic for dental health, not only because of their lack of nutritional value but because the amount of sugar they’re packed with. Bacteria feed off of the sugar that sticks to your teeth, releasing acids and leading to tooth decay.
Sipping on sugary drinks, like soda, juice or iced tea is also harmful to your teeth because of the constant sugar bath your teeth soak in. Acidic foods may be nutritious, but can damage tooth enamel so should be eaten as part of a meal. If you want to nosh on an orange or a sticky snack, like raisins, brush your teeth afterward.
There are also foods that promote good oral health. The ADA recommends adding these foods to your diet.
- Cheese, milk and plain yogurt
- Calcium-fortified tofu
- Leafy greens
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
The above mentioned foods provide high amounts of calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients which protect and rebuild tooth enamel.
Fresh fruits and vegetables high in water and fiber balance the sugars they have while helping clean the teeth. They also stimulate saliva production, washing away harmful acids and food particles. Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums and vitamin A builds tooth enamel.
Dentists agree that water is the most tooth-friendly thing to drink.