You may think that you know everything there is to know about cavities and oral health, but did you know that some of the foods you eat every day can either help or harm your teeth? In this blog post, we will discuss the best and worst foods for your teeth and give you some tips on how to maintain good oral health.
The pH of Food Matters
The pH of the foods and drinks you consume every day, for example, can have a major impact on your teeth.
The pH of a substance is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. The lower the pH number, the more acidic the substance is. Foods and drinks that are high in acid can cause cavities and tooth decay.
In fact, acid is one of the main causes of cavities. When you eat or drink something acidic, the acid can weaken the enamel on your teeth. This makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities and other dental problems. A cavity is a hole that forms in a tooth when plaque and tartar are not removed by brushing and flossing. Cavities can lead to tooth decay and even loss of the tooth.
Some examples of foods with low pH include citrus fruits, cranberry juice, and sports drinks.
- sugary drinks
- citrus fruits
- cranberry juice
- sports drinks
- processed foods
Sugar Feeds Bacteria
Sugar is one of the worst things you can eat for your teeth. First, sugar coats your teeth, and can be difficult to brush off. Second, the bacteria on your teeth feed on the sugar, and they release acid as a byproduct. The same bacteria can cause gum disease and gingivitis, which can lead to tooth and tissue decay. So, eating sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth, growing their population and therefore increasing the amount of acid secreted, and the likelihood of cavities and gum disease.
Foods Can Stain
Acidic foods aren’t the only type of foods that can impact your teeth in a negative way. Some foods can also stain teeth, especially if they’re consumed frequently. Foods famous for staining teeth are listed below:
- red wine
- dark colas
- tomato sauce
- berry juice
Good Foods for Oral Health
Luckily, many foods are great for oral health. Foods that are high in fiber, for example, can help clean your teeth and gums. Dairy products, eggs, and meat are all high in protein, which is good for your teeth. And nuts are a good source of healthy fats and minerals.
Here are some popular foods that are good for your teeth:
- dairy products (e.g. yogurt, cheese)
- fruits (e.g. strawberries, blueberries)
- green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach)
- nuts (e.g. almonds)
When Is the Best Time to Brush After Eating?
Of course, it’s unrealistic to completely omit sugar or acidic foods from your diet completely (who doesn’t love a sweet every now and then?). Many dentists recommend waiting 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating acidic foods like lemons or oranges, or sugary treats like chocolate or ice cream. The release of acid is quick for these foods, and can cause the enamel to soften. After a half hour to an hour, the enamel has had a chance to harden again so it won’t be harmed by brushing.
Brushing and flossing before bed and after breakfast are the optimal times to rid your mouth of food particles and prevent a buildup of acid. And, of course, regular dental checkups with Reno’s best family dentist help keep your mouth clean and healthy as well!