Created Tough for the Job
Our mouths have been wonderfully created to tear food, bite food, crush food, and grind food. By the age of 12 or 13, all of our adult teeth have come in and are meant to last for the rest of our lives! Of course, we’d like to keep all our teeth, but sugar and other harmful foods can be detrimental to their longevity and shorten their productivity. At Lifetime Family Dental, we’re thrilled when we see teeth that stay healthy and strong. And so, as a family dentist in Gilbert, AZ, we’d like to offer some thoughts about foods that help to care for your teeth.
Our last blog post was about sugar and its negative impact on our teeth. We explained how it changes to acid and contributes to the formation of cavities if it’s ingested often and if poor dental hygiene doesn’t brush it away quickly. But there are foods that, unlike sugar, actually help teeth by lowering the bacteria and plaque buildup that lead to the destruction of your tooth enamel.
Here’s an Interesting List of Teeth-Friendly Foods and Drinks:
—Black or green tea. These two teas both contain something called polyphenols, which retard the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. At the University of Illinois, researchers discovered that people rinsing with either black or green tea for 1 minute, 10 times each day, had less plaque buildup than others who rinsed with just plain water.
—Cheese. It raises the pH levels in the mouth, which reduces acid. And acid is guilty of wearing down enamel. Chewing cheese also helps to create saliva, which washes away bacteria.
—Crunchy foods. Those apples, carrots, celery sticks, and cucumbers that Mom wanted you to eat while growing up are full of fiber. And chewing them produces saliva in your mouth, which helps to wash away the bacteria that leads to the formation of plaque. By chewing crunchy foods, you can help to clear away the bacteria from teeth until you’re able to brush later using a toothbrush and toothpaste.
—Foods rich in vitamins. Leafy greens are good for your whole body, including your teeth, because they’re rich in calcium. Almonds and the cheese we mentioned earlier are also rich in calcium. Calcium isn’t just good for teeth, it’s also good for bones, including the jawbone, which is the foundational structure for your teeth. Two veggies that are particularly high in calcium are spinach and broccoli. Meats, eggs, and fish are high in phosphorus, and both calcium and phosphorus aid in supporting your enamel. Overall, that means stronger teeth.
—Sugarless gum. Yes, this one could be a surprise if you’ve been taught that chewing gum is bad for teeth. And just to mention, chewing sugary gum IS hard on teeth. But more gum manufacturers are making sugarless varieties these days. And chewing after a meal might just help create saliva to wash away the food particles that create bacteria. If the gum is sweetened with xylitol, that’s even better, since xylitol helps to reduce bacteria. Chew lightly, though, for the sake of your jaw muscles and teeth health.
—Water. When you rinse your mouth with plain old water, it also helps to wash away bacteria. And most water has some naturally occurring fluoride in it, which helps to strengthen teeth. In addition, some cities add fluoride to their water systems.
There you have it, a partial list of foods that can aid in washing or protecting your teeth. At Lifetime Family Dental, we care about teeth, and we care about families and their teeth. As a family dentist in Gilbert, AZ, we would love to see your family’s teeth stay healthy and vital. Eating the right foods can help. So Moms and Dads, pull out those apples and celery sticks, those carrots and salads—and eat to your family’s health!