Chew on This, Not That
By Jennifer L. Graves-Nagel, D.D.S.
September 09, 2014
Category: Oral Health
When it comes to your dental health, the saying “You are what you eat” is especially true. With the main functions of chewing and biting, your teeth must be strong and durable to get their jobs done. Achieving strong healthy teeth involves regular preventive care -- and it also requires eating a healthy diet that gives your body the nutrients needed to maintain strong teeth.
That’s why we have created our own Thousand Oaks, CA dentist version of ‘Eat This, Not That” designed to promote foods for healthy teeth, and give you an idea of foods that should be avoided to keep your pearly whites, white.
Eat This: High-calcium foods, such as cheese, almonds, spinach and fortified orange juice
Not That: Highly acidic foods, such as pickles and soda
The goals for your diet should be to strengthen your teeth, not weaken them. Phosphorus- and calcium-containing foods are minerals required to strengthen the teeth. They enact a process called “remineralization” that strengthens and restores tooth enamel. Calcium-containing foods include dairy products as well as almonds and spinach. Many foods also have calcium added to them. This is the case for orange juice and even cereals.
Foods that can work against you in terms of teeth-strengthening are those that are highly acidic. This includes pickles, which are surprisingly damaging to your teeth. One study even found that eating them daily increased the odds of tooth wear by as much as 85 percent. Sodas -- even sugar-free varieties -- can be highly acidic too and lead to tooth decay. Try water instead.
Eat This: Sugar-free foods
Not That: Sticky, sugary foods
Bacteria unfortunately have a sweet tooth. And when you eat sweet, sticky foods, such as gummy bears, these sugary foods can especially stick to your teeth and lead to further decay. For this reason, you should avoid sugary foods, especially sticky ones. As an added bonus, switch sugary foods up entirely to crunchy fruits and veggies, which are packed with nutrients. Their crunchy texture and high water content also make them teeth-friendly choices.
Instead, you should choose sugar-free options, such as sugar-free gum and sugar-free candies. Sugar substitutes including erythritol, isomalt, sorbitol, sucralose and aspartame. Bacteria do not “feed” on these foods, which means they are less likely to cause tooth decay. Remember, however, that just because a food does not contain sugar does not mean the food is low in calories.
For more information on how you can eat a diet that is friendly for your teeth, please call (805) 557-0100 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Graves-Nagel at our Thousand Oaks, California office.