It’s back to school time, which means lunch packing season has begun! Your child’s oral health is extremely important, and to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health, your diet — what you eat and how often you eat — are important factors. The minute you eat certain foods, bacteria in the mouth convert sugars and carbohydrates from the foods you eat to acids. Acids begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the decay process.
There are plenty of foods that can damage your teeth, but did you know that there are foods that actually promote good oral health? Although you’re already flossing and brushing regularly, incorporating the right foods into your diet can strengthen teeth and keep them in great shape. When feeding you and your family, consider these foods to consume and avoid when improving your oral health.
It’s a Party in Your Mouth With These Food Choices
The best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to redeposit tooth enamel after being removed by acids. Dairy products are full of calcium and other minerals that promote oral wellness, but it’s important to eat the right dairy products. When choosing milk, always skip conventional products that are full of hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals.
Other food choices include crunchy fruits such as apples and pears. Because apples are high in water, eating them stimulates saliva production, which helps rid your mouth of bacteria and stray food particles. The fiber found in apples also stimulates the gums and acts as a mild astringent for your teeth, gently brightening them. If you want to consume acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, it will not cause harm as long as they are eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize their acid.
Because they’re high in vitamins and minerals while being low in calories, leafy greens—like kale, spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens—are a fool-proof way to keep teeth healthy. The antioxidants and vitamins found in these powerful veggies combat cavities while also serving as a sneaky source of calcium to keep teeth strong.
Limit Yourself When Consuming These for Strong Oral Health
Poor food choices include candy — such as lollipops, hard candies, and mints — cookies, cakes, pies, breads, muffins, potato chips, pretzels, french fries, bananas, raisins, and other dried fruits. These foods contain large amounts of sugar and/or can stick to teeth, providing a fuel source for bacteria. In addition, cough drops should be used only when necessary as they, like sugary candy, contribute to tooth decay.
Limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, lemonade, and coffee or tea with added sugar. Also, avoid day-long sipping of sugar-containing drinks — day-long sipping exposes your teeth to constant sugar and, in turn, constant decay-causing acids.