September 23, 2017
When you hear the words “preventive dentistry,” do you think of brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist twice per year? To be sure, all those things are very important for the health of your mouth.
But have you thought much about how what you eat and drink affects your oral health?
Some things you put in your mouth feed harmful bacteria as much as they feed you. But other foods and beverages actually fight those nasty microbes and keep your teeth and gums in great shape.
So when you buy food and plan meals, think about how you may be helping or hurting your dental well-being. Book a checkup at Synergy Dental Center, and we will be happy to counsel you on nutrition and other important issues relating to oral health. Give us a call at our Gillette, WY office at (307) 622-1311.
What Not to Drink
If you go to any convenience store, you will see refrigerator case after refrigerator case filled with flavored, sweetened beverages. Sodas, iced teas, juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, you name it. A good rule of thumb is to walk right by all of them and go to the case filled with plain water. An even better rule of thumb is to skip individually bottled drinks altogether, invest in a reusable water bottle, and stick to plain old tap.
Every time you take a sip of one of these sweetened beverages, you are coating your mouth in liquid sugar. This is like a field day for cavity-causing bacteria, who will proliferate and get right to work harming your teeth.
And you are not safe by sticking with diet soda. It’s not just the sugar in beverages that cause harm. These drinks also contain acids, which attack the tooth enamel and promote decay.
If you must imbibe soda or other acidic and/or sugary drinks, try to drink water — or brush your teeth — immediately afterward. Either of these will help get rid of acids and sugars.
If, like many people, you love your morning coffee or hot tea, you don’t need to give it up. You should be aware, however, that both substances do have a tendency to stain teeth. Try to limit yourself to one or two cups per day (preferably at one sitting) and brush immediately afterward.
What to Drink
Water. Drink water with abandon with meals, between meals, all day long. If possible, choose tap water over bottled. In addition to the environmental advantage (no disposable plastic bottles to deal with), tap water is preferable because most municipal water supplies are fortified with fluoride. This essential mineral strengthens your teeth so they can better stave off bacterial acid attacks. No wonder fluoride is called “nature’s cavity fighter.”
Consuming water is also an excellent way to keep your mouth fresh and clean after meals and between brushings, as it has the effect of rinsing away food particles and bacteria.
Another awesome tooth-boosting beverage is white milk. Milk is loaded with calcium and phosphorus, which are both minerals that help to rebuild, or “remineralize,” tooth enamel that’s been eaten away by bacterial acids. Milk also contains proteins called caseins, which are believed to form a protective coating on the tooth enamel.
What Not to Eat
We aren’t going to say you need to avoid sugar altogether. After all, even dentists crave a cookie or bowl of ice cream sometimes! However, there are a few worst offenders that you should severely limit — if not cut out of your diet altogether. Anything that is sticky and sweet is bad news for your oral health. Think chewy granola bars, fruit snacks and rollups, dried fruits, and gummy candies. Sour gummy candies are especially bad, as they contain certain acids that attack your teeth.
White bread turns into a paste-like substance in your mouth that sticks to teeth and converts to sugar. Whole wheat bread is a better choice.
Citrus fruits do contain lots of vitamins and nutrients, but they are high in acid, which means they are damaging to the teeth.
What to Eat
Luckily, there are lots of delicious foods that also happen to be good for your teeth. Dairy products provide calcium and protein. Leafy greens are also an excellent source of calcium, and they have the added benefit of being rich in folic acid, which is thought to help fight gum disease.
Crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables stimulate the gums and promote saliva production, which helps keep the mouth clean. Even if they contain sugar, like apples, feel free to crunch away.
A good diet will not only benefit your teeth and gums, it will help keep your whole body healthy. Call Synergy Dental Center at (307) 622-1311 to schedule your next checkup. Or contact us through our web form.