Good and bad. It’s usually easy to distinguish between the two. However, when it comes to what you eat, it’s not always that easy. For example, many people still think of orange juice as a great staple of a healthy breakfast. But, beware! Juices have high sugar content and you are much better off eating an orange than drinking the juice.
So, here’s a look at the good and the bad in foods for the effect on your teeth. I’ll also present the American Dental Association’s top nine bad foods. One of the best is broccoli… and I’ll write about that in a minute.
It’s easy for dentists to tell you what’s bad for your mouth and teeth (sugary, acidic food and drinks, obviously), but I’m going to take time today and expand on what’s bad as well as what’s good for your mouth. You can build strength for your teeth and get protection from cavities with the right diet.
The University of Rochester’s Medical Center’s advice is excellent. Here’s what it has to recommend what you should put in your mouth:
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Foods with fiber have a detergent effect, according to the American Dental Association, and also get saliva flowing. However, remember that citrus is acidic and too much can be a danger to your teeth, too.
- Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products. Directly from the Medical Center’s webpage: “Cheese is another saliva maker. The calcium in cheese, and the calcium and phosphates in milk and other dairy products, help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other foods.”
- Green and black teas. Both block acid’s erosion in your mouth and both, especially green tea, has fluoride.
- Foods with fluoride and fluoridated drinking water.
I can’t say dentists are fond of chewing gum (although one of its pioneers was a dentist), but sugarless gums are on occasion cited as a positive for maintaining saliva in the mouth.
As for foods, one of the best is broccoli – it offers both nutrients and some consider eating fresh, raw broccoli as a way to whiten teeth.
Now, on to the bad guys. The ADA has a list of nine you should avoid:
- Hard candies
- Ice (don’t chew it!)
- Too much citrus
- Coffee… but not for the coffee (although it can stain your teeth), but for what you put into it – watch the sugar!
- Sticky foods and candies
- Foods that go “crunch” … these have starch that can build up and cause cavities and other problems
- Sports drinks