We all know that candy and sodas are some of the worst enemies to good oral health, due to the high sugar content. Proper brushing and flossing can help remove food residues and bacteria from the teeth, but good oral hygiene isn’t always enough to prevent cavities from developing. What else can you do to help your family avoid tooth decay? A lot, incidentally, and much of it happens at the supermarket.
Do you need family dentistry specialist in Auburn, CA? Dr. Luminita Markham provides general and restorative dentistry for every member of the family. Contact Maidu Dental today at (530) 823-8771 to make an appointment!
Mouth Bacteria and Tooth Decay
If you understand how cavities form, you understand why daily brushing and flossing isn’t always enough to prevent the onset of cavities. You can brush your teeth perfectly in the morning and at night, but if your teeth are exposed to harmful acids all day long, you may still develop decay. Every time you eat foods that your mouth bacteria like to eat (sugars and starches), you give them the opportunity to feast. This feasting causes bacteria to excrete acids that leach minerals from your tooth enamel. The more candy you eat, the more acidic your mouth environment becomes. The more acidic the mouth environment, the greater the likelihood that cavities will form.
Bacteria Love These Foods
The following foods give mouth bacteria the fuel they need to harm your family’s tooth enamel. The longer these foods sit on the teeth, the greater your risk of developing cavities.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- White bread
- Potato chips
- Corn chips
- Fruit juice
- Sodas and candy
- Dried fruit snacks and roll-ups
- Puffy corn snacks
- Veggie straws
- Sweetened yogurt
You can often mitigate the harmful effects of these foods by eating a variety of mouth-healthy foods throughout the day. We certainly don’t suggest you cut starchy and sugary foods out of your diet altogether, but following bad foods with good ones can minimize your risk of enamel demineralization.
- Having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Eat an apple afterward.
- Enjoying a small portion of potato chips? Chew on some celery sticks afterwards to help remove the potato residue from the teeth.
- Can’t brush your teeth after a sweet snack, rinse the mouth with water and chew sugarless gum promptly afterward.
Foods That Clean the Teeth
If you’ve ever heard that eating an apple is almost as good as brushing your teeth, there is actually some truth to this. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are great teeth-cleaners because they require a lot of chewing and provide resistance when you chew them. This can help wipe away plaque and starchy food residues and discourage the production of bacterial acids.
Feeding your family lots of the following foods on a regular basis can help them avoid tooth decay:
- Apples and crunchy Asian pears
- Celery and cucumber
- Raw turnips and radishes
- Raw leafy greens, salads with low-sugar dressing
- Sugarless gum
Broccoli and cauliflower do an awesome job of cleaning the teeth, since their nubby texture acts like a brush to wipe away bacteria and plaque.
Foods That Promote a Healthy Mouth Environment
Beyond healthy fruits and vegetables, there are some other great food choices you can make at the grocery store.
Green Tea – There is scientific evidence that green tea is the only form of tea that has a beneficial effect on one’s oral health. Green tea can improve gum health and neutralize mouth bacteria.
Milk and Dairy Products – Not only are dairy products rich in tooth-supporting calcium, but many of them have a neutral pH level, which can help counteract an acidic mouth environment.
Cruciferous Greens – Mineral-rich leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of the nutrients your body needs to fight off infection and keep your immune system strong. There’s a reason why kale experienced a boom in popularity recently: because it provides a strong punch of health-supporting nutrition. Other greens, such as spinach, collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens and bok choy are a great addition to your family’s diet.
San Pellegrino mineral water – If you love unsweetened fizzy water drinks, be careful. Most of them contain citric acid, which makes the mouth environment acidic. When several popular mineral waters were tested, San Pellegrino was found to have a neutral pH level, so it can actually help control acid levels in the mouth.
Visit Maidu Dental to learn more about oral health and family dentistry in Auburn, CA. Our friendly staff is a wealth of advice and information that can help you protect your family’s smiles. Contact us today at (530) 823-8771 to schedule an appointment!