Yes, we can eat to prevent cavities, tooth decay, and optimize oral health. Paying attention to your diet — what you eat and how often — is critical to preventative oral care.
Certain foods leave more of a lasting and negative impact on your teeth. Acidic and sugar-based foods, which create more problems for your teeth than their basic, less sugary counterparts. But some foods and beverages counter the effects of poor dietary choices.
- Leafy Greens
- Fruits and Veggies with a crunch
- Calcium-rich foods
Leafy greens act like a between-meal ‘scrub’ for your teeth. These greens require a lot of chewing. The texture of the leaves helps to remove particles of food or coatings that accumulate throughout the day. In addition, chewing produces saliva which flushes your mouth. Many leafy greens are also high in calcium. While not a substitute for brushing, greens can be helpful in maintaining a clean mouth throughout the day.
Crunchy produce such as apples, pears, celery, and peppers is a great alternative to processed foods for snacking. These snacks have sugar, but it’s diluted by the high water content in the food itself. Crunchy fruits and veggies can satisfy hunger and cravings for something sweet while taking care of your mouth.
Calcium is known for strengthening tooth enamel, which prevents cavities and tooth decay. Some foods that are high in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, and meat. For people who avoid dairy, have a plant-based diet, or are looking for other high calcium snacks, try seeds (chia, poppy, sesame), beans, lentils, almonds, amaranth, and tofu.
Water is the best beverage for your teeth. It has a neutral pH, and helps to flush your mouth of buildup throughout the day. It doesn’t stain your teeth and it’s sugar-free! If you have a hard time drinking a lot of water, try including pieces of cucumber or mint in your water for a flavor boost.
Milk and sugar-free teas (black teas stain your teeth) are other alternatives. If you need your sugary beverage fix, try to avoid sipping it throughout the day — and have a big glass of water or a quick brush to flush the sugar out of your mouth.
Don’t forget… regular check-ups are an important part of preventative care. The BOCO Dental hygiene team can’t wait to see you at your next exam!