My patients are always asking for new ways to improve their oral health. A great way to maintain a bright and healthy smile is to make optimal overall health your priority. Staying mindful of how we treat our body is vital to being healthy inside and out. Keeping your teeth and avoiding the need for gum disease treatment, begins with diet.
Common oral bacteria known as Streptococcus Mutans cause the mouth to be highly susceptible to discoloration and decay. This bacteria causes plaque buildup and can lead to increased bacteria reproduction. To keep your mouth healthy, there are several foods that can be beneficial to your oral and overall health.
- Carrots are a great snack that can appeal to both children and adults. These sweet and crunchy treats stimulate the saliva in your mouth which naturally washes away plaque. They also are rich in Vitamin A, which is great for your eyesight. Carrots also help keep your vision strong and your enamel clear.
- Celery, although rather tasteless, is extremely low in calories. Dip in peanut butter or ranch dressing for added flavor. It requires chewing which increases saliva in your mouth. It also assists washing away plaque. The fibrous strands in celery also help to naturally clean your teeth.
- Pineapples are a sweet treat that is full of vitamins and minerals. The acidic nature of pineapples can sometimes help to remove stains from your teeth. They are also rich in bromelain, a protein-breaking enzyme which can also help to keep your teeth clean.
Remember: Plaque Is the Bad Guy – Don’t Feed the Plaque!
Ideally, you want to avoid food that combines high sugars, acid and stickiness. When you eat food that is high in sugar and acid, you not only feed plaque that can wreak chaos inside your mouth. The resulting acids from the combination of sugars and plaque attacks your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you are finished eating!
- Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and low in both sugar and acid. This makes it an ideal food choice. Even more, cheese contains a protein called casein, which is found in milk and is very useful in fortifying the surface of teeth.
- Sugar-Free Gum brands such as B-Fresh, Spry, Xponent, Xylichew and Trident all contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener. Note that not all sugar-free gum contain xylitol. Unlike other artificial sweeteners, xylitol prevents the bacteria in plaque from metabolizing sugar, acting more like an “anti-sugar” than a sugar substitute. Regular sucrose can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, while xylitol fights against them. Gum even helps to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth.
- Tap Water, more often than not, contains optimal levels of fluoride which helps to prevent tooth decay. The reason for this is simple; fluoride helps to remineralize teeth, reversing the harmful effects of acid, which works away enamel. Most bottled water doesn’t contain enough active fluoride to have any benefit.
- Pears help to stimulate saliva reproduction, like all high fiber-containing fresh fruit. Pears are a great option. They have a larger neutralizing effect on acid than other types of fruit, such as apples, bananas, mandarins and pineapples.
- Yogurt, just like cheese, is another excellent source of casein, calcium and also phosphates that help to remineralize teeth, the same as fluoride does. This makes it another ideal candidate to fight cavities.
So, there you go. Generally speaking, these foods are good for your regular teeth and your implants, if you have any.