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Foods That Are Good For Your Teeth

Updated on February 20, 2013

How Foods Affect Your Teeth and Gums

In this lens we will be covering some of the foods that you can eat in order to help your teeth. There are a couple things to keep in mind when talking about foods that are good for your teeth.

First off why is food causing tooth decay? We all know that eating sugary, sticky food is bad for our teeth but why is this? The problem arises because when you eat these foods you are helping to build up a layer of plaque or bacteria on your teeth which if left alone can eventually cause tooth decay. You can't usually see plaque but when you consume sugars or starches this aids the plaques creation of acids that can break down the enamel of your teeth. This is bound to happen sometimes but it's when you are consistently feeding this plaque that you can get large tooth decay, gum disease, and pretty much all the nasty things you hate about going to the dentist. The body does have a natural defense against this acid in our spit which can neutralize the acid.

For a more in depth look at how acid affect the teeth you can read a great article at the independent UK.

Good Food for teeth
Good Food for teeth

Fiber For Healthy Teeth

As usual Veggies are your friend

We have all heard about the health benefits of adding fiber to our diets but it can also make a real difference on your teeth. Fiber does not stick to your teeth and there are some studies that suggest it actually may have a detergent like affect on your mouth. One thing that is for sure is that fiber creates saliva in your mouth which can help to counter the acids that create dental problems. Fiber can also help to remove food that has become stuck between your teeth. A few foods and food groups to remember are:

  • Crunchy raw vetables such as carrots, celery and spinach
  • High Fiber Fruits such as apples, avocado, pears. However, when eating fruit please keep it in moderation and stay away from dried fruits. The problem with dried fruits is that they can get caught between your teeth. If you do eat them make sure to floss afterwords
  • Grains such as bran, brown rice and whole wheat spaghetti have a good amount of fiber but try to eat them in moderation as their high starch content can lead to problems.
  • Nuts such as almonds, split peas and lentils are full of fibrous goodness

Dairy Cows
Dairy Cows

Dairy Products and your Teeth

Great for teeth and not just for the calcium

Dairy products have received a bit of a bad rep in some health circles these days but we're not here to debate whether you should or shouldn't drink milk. If you do choose to drink milk then you will be doing a favor to your teeth. Just like bones teeth need calcium and dairy products are a great way to get it. Calcium is especially important when your teeth are developing but if you deprive your body of calcium then it will start to leech it from other sources. One of these sources is your teeth and of course bones. To stop this make sure that you get enough calcium in your diet through dairy products, green vegetables or many of the other sources. For more information you can look here Information on Calcium.

Besides the calcium cheese is also great at creating saliva which as I discussed in the previous section helps to stabilize yours mouths acidity. Recently there have been studies that suggest that when it is eaten with sugary or starchy foods that it can help coat the teeth and protect them.

Now don't start only switching your diet to lots of dairy just yet as everything should be done in moderation. Milk and other dairy products contain lactose which is a sugar. It is actually one of the least damaging types for your teeth but make sure you brush those teeth if you drink a warm glass of milk before bed!

Coffee or Tea
Coffee or Tea

What's better for your teeth Coffee or Tea?

First off if you're trying to keep your teeth perfectly white then neither coffee nor tea is going to help with keep them white. Both coffee and tea will stain your teeth if you're drinking them on a regular basis. However, one of the worst things you can do is sit with your coffee or tea and sip it throughout the entire day. Drink your coffee/tea in the morning and then go brush your teeth. Another good tip is to switch to green or white teas as these tend to stain teeth less (however they will still stain eventually!).

Coffee and tea both stain your teeth but tea has something in it called polyphenols which can actually help out with your dental health. Polyphenols help to kill, or at least keep at bay, bacteria which can produce acids that attack your teeth. So if you can manage to do away with your cup of coffee and switch to green tea your teeth will thank you. Green tea also has a lot of other benefits which you can read about in this Squidoo article on green tea

Gum Ball Machines
Gum Ball Machines

Is chewing gum good for your teeth?

Not all gum is created equal when it comes to teeth and some can be downright destructive. The biggest problem is the sweeteners that are added to many of the gum on the market today. The sugar in these types of gums can create a lush environment for cavities. Another problem with sweetened gum is that people often discard it once the flavor is gone and because of this your mouth does not create enough saliva to counteract the acidity.

When you take the sugar out of the gum then everything changes and not only is it unlikely you will be doing any harm to your teeth, there are recent studies that suggest you may be helping them. The benefit comes from the ability of gum to trick our mouths into creating saliva. As mentioned before saliva is our mouth's way of neutralizing the acids that can cause tooth decay. However before you start chewing sugarless gum every waking hour there has also been studies that have shown frequent gum use to increase the risk of muscle fatigue and even cause pain in you jaw and facial muscles.

So overall if you are going to use gum chew sugarless gum. If you find yourself out eating without a tooth brush then try chewing a piece of sugarless gum afterwords. This will not only help your breath but can also help neutralize the acids caused by your meal. If you cannot put down the gum with sugar in it then try to chew it for about 20 minutes before you spit it out. Chewing for extended periods of time will help the gum create enough saliva to neutralize some of its bad effect.

One last thing....PUT YOUR GUM IN THE TRASH NOT ON THE STREET!

What Do You Destroy Your Teeth With?

Gummy Bears
Gummy Bears

No matter what you're going to probably eat some bad things for your teeth once and awhile.

What's your favorite way to destroy your teeth.

See results
Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic Dentistry

No Matter How Good You Eat Don't Forget Your Checkups!

Even if you are eating only the good kind of food for your teeth don't forget to stop in for a checkup at least once a year. There is always a chance you could have a hidden cavity, problems with your gums, or other things that can creep up with your oral health.

If you live around in West Vancouver, British Columbia then you can come meet me in person. Give us a call at (604) 925-6725 or for more information visit our Park Royal Dental Centre Website.

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    • DramaticWhitening profile image

      DramaticWhitening 3 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing. I can see a lot of effort was put into this, you got a squidlike from me :-)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

      The woman who cleans my teeth said that she finds people who take milk in their tea don't have as much staining on their teeth...

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      I'm glad that tea has some benefit, because that's what I drink. I stopped putting sugar in my tea a decade ago on the advice of my dentist, which I guess helps.

    • AceofHearts profile image

      AceofHearts 4 years ago

      Great information we all need to be reminded of. I can tell you are going to be a great asset to squidoo!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 4 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Well, overall based on your info, I'm doing pretty well. And I do have my mom's teeth (thank goodness! sorry, Dad), so I have genetics on my side. Anyhow, nice to get this type of information straight from the dentist's mouth. :-)

    • DentalTalk profile image
      Author

      DentalTalk 4 years ago

      @casnider: We all have the treats we like that can hurt our teeth but if you're doing everything right like flossing and brushing then you should be fine. Have a great day and here's to your healthy smile!

    • casnider profile image

      casnider 4 years ago

      but I floss and waterpick and brush every day so it's not so bad right?