It makes sense that everything you put in your mouth will have an effect on your teeth and overall oral health, but people often forget how certain foods affect your teeth in a potentially negative way. Even with proper brushing and flossing technique every day! The biggest concern with harmful ingredients in your food is tooth decay, which can eventually lead to gum disease and even tooth loss.
When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid. Acid is what eats away at our enamel and causes cavities. Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.
Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet and starchy. Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy. Sweet or starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers. The longer these things interact with your teeth in between brushing or flossing, the greater the chance for tooth decay to occur. For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.
To help protect your teeth against tooth decay:
- Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches
- Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal
- Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages
- Swish with water after meals and snacks
- Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup (floss at least once a day and brush twice a day)
Research has also found that lack of vitamins and minerals can negatively affect your teeth. Just like everything else in your body, it is essential to provide your teeth with the right nutrients.
Important nutrients for healthy teeth:
- Vitamin B12: A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.
- Amino Acids: One example is the amino acid arginine, which is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Arginine helps prevent cavities and gum disease by breaking down dental plaque.
- Calcium: Your body needs enough calcium to support healthy teeth and gums.
Keep these tips and list of ingredients in mind to ensure your dental health remains in tip-top shape! And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly at Central Avenue Dental so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of tooth decay! Call us today at 704-900-7301 or request your next appointment online. Any member of our team will be happy to talk with you in more detail about how the food you are regularly consuming in your individual diet is affecting your teeth.