Oral health is important for many reasons. Good oral health means you can enjoy a healthy diet, keep your teeth and gums healthy, and avoid dental problems in the future. Oral health can be affected by a variety of factors, including diet, lifestyle choices, and genetics.
There are quite a few foods that you should avoid as much as possible if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the worst offenders.
Foods to Avoid for Good Oral Health
We know that fruit is a good way to get minerals and other nutrients into our bodies, but citrus foods, particularly grapefruit and lemon juice can erode away the enamel on your teeth over time. Orange juice is a less acidic option, with many commercial brands fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are great for your teeth.
If you do want to include citrus fruits in your diet, minimise your intake and clean your teeth after consuming.
Lollies and Sweets
So we know that lollies and sweets aren’t great for us – they offer no nutritional value, and despite being tasty, the sugars can feed the bacteria in your mouth, which can cause cavities and eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Biting down on hard sweets can also be a recipe for disaster, particularly if you chip a tooth.
If you do consume sweets and lollies, make sure it is on a treat basis, and that you clean your teeth afterwards, or at least use a quality mouthwash.
Again, these products offer no nutritional value for our body, and while they do taste good (and can be a refreshing change from water), they aren’t great for your teeth. Like lollies, the sugars can feed the bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth decay.
If you must drink sugary soft drinks, do so while eating a meal, as the food can help to balance out the acid. Even better is to avoid these drinks, and swap them for soda water or mineral water (for that bubbly feeling) or just plain water.
Crackers are often a good snack for when you are on the run, but did you know they actually aren’t great for your oral health. Crackers can leave food particles behind which can build up in between your teeth. While the occasional cracker at a BBQ or picnic won’t do you any harm, it is best to avoid eating them daily. Brush and floss after eating to get rid of any food particles left behind.
Coffee and Tea
We won’t be popular for suggesting this one, but both coffee and tea can stain your teeth over time. We know that giving up tea and coffee probably won’t happen, so it’s best to ensure you clean your teeth after drinking, minimise how much you drink and have your teeth cleaned professionally regularly.
So now we have a list of the foods you shouldn’t eat, what foods should you consume?
Sugar Free Gum
If you can’t get to cleaning your teeth after a meal or coffee, chewing on some sugar free gum can help to keep your teeth clean. Chewing on gum gets the saliva flowing, and can help wash away acids that are produced by the bacteria that grows in your mouth.
Beneficially, many sugar free gums are sweetened with xylitol, a sugar alcohol that can reduce bacteria. Stick with mint flavours, and your teeth will benefit.
Now apart from being beneficial for our bodies, water is great for your oral health. It can help wash away sugars, acids and food particles, and tap water contains fluoride, which can help protect against erosion to your teeth.
If you can’t clean your teeth after a meal, make sure you drink a glass or two of water.
This is another product that is great for our body, but the calcium in dairy is also essential for building healthy teeth. It can help strengthen tooth enamel, and the casein (milk protein) can help to stablise and repair tooth enamel.
Your calcium intake certainly doesn’t need to come in the form of dairy – there are plenty of calcium rich foods out there – but it is an accessible item, in the form of cheese, yoghurt or milk, that can help you achieve good oral health.
High Fibre Foods
High fibre foods, including leafy vegetables, promote good digestion – and are great for your teeth, not only because they contain essential minerals and vitamins, but they require a lot of chewing! Chewing generates saliva, which in turn (as we mentioned), helps to clean away food particles and acids left behind.
Good oral health doesn’t come from food alone. Make sure you book in for regular check ups with the Crestmead Dental team, and keep your teeth healthy.