We all like to have good teeth. What you eat can make the difference between how white, bright, and strong they are. Some foods and some drinks are bad for your teeth.
Acidic drinks erode teeth
When we eat or drink foods and beverages, that contain acids, the acid initiates a chemical process that softens tooth enamel and can lead to dental erosion.
“Normally saliva neutralizes the acid, but if we keep swilling soda or snacking on fruit and yogurt, saliva can’t keep up with the acid, and the possibility of erosion increases. According to Dr. Samantha Shipley, DDS, reducing your consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks can help reduce erosion. Chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow or rinsing with water for 30 seconds can also help.
Colas, sodas and orange juice showed up to five times as much enamel erosion as teeth doused in green and black teas. The reason? Colas, sodas, and juices contain acids that dissolve the calcium phosphate in the enamel.
Why acidic drinks are bad for your teeth
Some middle-schoolers and teens are showing up at dentists’ offices with a problem more often associated with middle age: sensitive, yellowing, pitted teeth that are losing their protective enamel.
Diagnosis: Dental erosion, a problem that can be caused by disorders and other health problems but that also can be traced to diets heavy in acidic sodas, juices, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Watch out for too many citrus juices, citrus-flavored sodas such as Mountain Dew and 7-Up. Coke and Pepsi colas and other acidic drinks are also a concern. The more time teeth spend bathed in acid, the greater the risk.
Check labels in particular for these acids in drinks – carbonic, citric and phosphoric. They are very acidic and when used too often lead to pitted teeth.
Avoid refined sugar
The bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay and gingivitis feed on simple sugars. By cutting sugar out of your diet (not all of it all the time if you periodically need a sugar fix) you could starve the bad bugs out of your mouth.
Bacteria break down sugar to get the energy they need to multiply. One by-product of this sugar break down is acid. This acids attacks tooth enamel leading to cavity formation.
Avoid wheat products
For some of us eating wheat leads to plaque. It’s the gluten in wheat and other grains that glues the plaque to your teeth and gums.
Eat healthy foods & drink plenty of water
Did you know that some foods are good for your teeth and gums? Eating specific foods can strengthen and naturally whiten teeth and kill toxic bacteria in your mouth. So dig in and fight tooth decay the natural way.
Calcium rich foods can help shore up tooth enamel and strengthen the bone around your teeth. By forming a temporary coating on your teeth, calcium also deflects natural acids in your mouth and helps prevent decay.
Good sources of calcium are dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk.
Carrots, nuts, seeds and other hard crunchy foods help slough off plaque.
Cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli are all sources of minerals that create a protective film on teeth and help prevent red-wine, cola, or coffee stains from penetrating the enamel.
Chewing raw veggies stimulates saliva, which neutralizes acids and strengthens teeth using vitamins and minerals from the foods themselves. So, eat your veggies, and crunch them raw.
Drink plenty of water Want to protect your enamel? Drink plain water or add tea to it.
Water will help your body make saliva, and saliva swishes away bacterial toxins that cause periodontal disease.
Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy reduces your risk of gum disease. The vitamin C and calcium in those foods strengthen your teeth and your immune system.
Grapefruit aids in wound healing and was shown to decrease gum bleeding in a German study. Also, it prevents the collagen network in your gums from breaking down and loosening around your teeth.
However, grapefruit’s acid can temporarily reduce the strength of your tooth enamel, so dentists recommend waiting at least 30 minutes after eating grapefruit to brush your teeth. And grapefruit interacts with some medicines, so check with your pharmacist if you plan to eat it regularly.
Green tea contains an ingredient called catechins that kill bacteria in the mouth.
Mint and parsley kill bacteria in the mouth. Also they contain more good ingredients, substances that move rapidly through the blood stream to your lungs to counter the odor in your mouth.
Spicy foods such as horse radish have good chemicals that inhibit the growth of germs.
Strawberries have bleaching elements to brighten your smile. How about that. Good for your taste buds and your looks as well.
Vitamin C rich foods are a powerful killer of oral bacteria. They include fruits such as oranges, limes, cranberries, and strawberries.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, also helps to strengthen your teeth and your immune system.
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