We all know how important food is for our body. We use the nutrients in food to replenish our bodies and fuel our activities. What most people do not realize is that food is just as important to our teeth as any other system in our body; we need specific vitamins to maintain our pearly whites and should avoid certain foods to prevent oral problems.
Junk food like potato chips, candy bars, or soda have no benefit for our health and wreak havoc on teeth; these foods should only be eaten in moderation due to their acidity and tendency to cause decay. One of the most dangerous substances to our teeth, that we readily consume, is acidic foods; many food and drink contain a low pH that can eat away at teeth and leave them vulnerable to erosion. After drinking tea, coffee, orange juice or soda, try to rinse your mouth out with water, this helps to neutralize the acidic level and protect teeth.
The best foods for the body and teeth are those rich in nutrients and vitamins. Fresh is always best when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Foods rich in fiber may also help to remove plaque that accumulates on the teeth and help the oral cavity to produce more saliva to naturally wash away bacteria. More importantly, fruits and vegetables contain water which helps to reduce the amount of sugar that comes into contact with our teeth.
The best water to prevent decay contains fluoride, and in most cases regular tap water is more beneficial than bottled water. Fluoride is necessary to prevent cavities. Studies have proven that people who live in communities with the mineral supplied in the drinking water have a lower amount of decay and oral disease than those who have no fluoride.
Editor: Regardless of the dental benefits, municipal water treated with fluoride is a contentious issues due to health concerns surrounding the ingestion of large quantities of fluoride.
Many other foods can help our teeth. Cheese and dairy products contain Vitamin D and calcium which actually make teeth stronger to resist bacteria. People who enjoy snacks may be interested in knowing that certain nuts, like almonds and cashews, supply teeth with many nutrients and can make for a healthy alternative to pretzels or potato chips.
Some foods should be eliminated from the diet or used in strict moderation. Energy drinks may give us a boost of liveliness, but the acid is terrible for teeth. Candy that has a sticky content may taste great, but it tends to cling to the chewing surfaces of teeth, allowing the sugar to penetrate the enamel, this goes for dried fruits, such as, raisins. Fresh is always best; opt for crunchy celery or carrots when craving for a snack.
Diet is not the only way to protect our teeth, oral hygiene and home care must be taken into consideration as well. Always floss nightly and brush twice daily. Visit with a dentist twice yearly for checkups and follow the advice of your dental professional. With a few small changes, you can keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.
Charles Tozzer is an Irvine, California based sedation dentist and can be found atÂ http://www.tozzerdental.com/