While most of us know that brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist can help us to keep our teeth and gums healthy, we rarely think of the impact that the foods we eat have on our oral health. Regular tooth care is important, but the foods that you eat can actually be harmful or helpful, as well. While swishing with water and brushing regularly can be beneficial, it may not reverse the effects of eating a diet filled with foods that harm your teeth. Likewise, other foods may give your oral care routine a boost.
Sticky sweets such as gummy candies and cake cling to the teeth, which can contribute to tooth decay. This is especially detrimental when these foods are eaten as a snack in between meals, as the body doesn’t produce as much saliva for smaller amounts of food. The bacteria that are naturally present in the mouth react to the sugars in these foods and produce acid, which is harmful to the teeth and can cause decay.
Studies are showing that eating cheese is good for your teeth. While the helpfulness of the calcium in dairy products is up for debate, cheese itself increases the pH level of the mouth. The reason for this is unknown and may have something to do with increased saliva production, but the result is that there is a lower risk for tooth erosion. The compounds in cheese also cling to the teeth and protect against cavities.
Starchy snacks like potato chips and crackers break down into simple sugars while still in the mouth. As with added sugars, these sugars begin the chain reaction that causes acid to attack the teeth. Unfortunately, starchy snacks also break apart in the mouth and get into many cracks and crevices between and around the teeth, so the acid keeps getting produced until the debris is removed. Even after the pieces are gone, the mouth will continue to produce acid for about 30 minutes.
Sugarless gum with xylitol kills some of the bacteria in the mouth while providing the teeth with a protective barrier against acid. The gum also increases the production of saliva in the mouth and helps to loosen up debris that is stuck on the teeth. Chewing a piece of sugarless gum after your meal may do a lot of good for your teeth.
If you are unsure about how your diet may be affecting your oral health, consult your Orlando dentist to find out more.