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How Diet Affects Your Dental Health

Team Dental Health

When it comes to your dental health, you probably know that certain foods, like sugar, are bad for your teeth. But there are many other foods, drinks, and eating habits that could have a negative impact on the health of your teeth and mouth. 

Learn the ways your diet might be damaging your teeth and how to make healthy changes to improve your oral health.

The Types of Foods You Eat

First on the list of foods that harm your teeth is the usual culprit: candy. The worst types of candy are hard candy, sticky candy, caramel, taffy, and the like. Baked goods like cake and cookies are next. The lesser known tooth-damaging snack may surprise you: chips. Chips are not sweet, and most people think this makes them safe for your teeth. However, chips cling to teeth and are made of carbohydrates that turn to sugar as your saliva breaks them down. 

Think you eat a healthy diet? Some of the healthy foods you eat could also be damaging your teeth. Highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes can erode the enamel on your teeth, making them susceptible to cavities. Dried fruits like raisins have added sugar and cling to your teeth. 

Should you stop eating all of these foods? Not necessarily. Eat healthy, acidic foods as part of a meal. And it's ok to indulge in a treat now and then, but consider brushing your teeth as soon as possible afterwards. If you’re not able to brush, drink water to rinse off your teeth. 

The Types of Beverages You Drink

Sugary soft drinks are at the top of the list for beverages that harm teeth. Soda, pop, coke or whatever you call it based on your geographical area, these drinks are both sugary and acidic, making them a double whammy when it comes to your teeth. 

Another drink that is harmful to teeth may surprise you: sports drinks. Gatorade, Powerade, and other sports drinks are also highly acidic and contain either sugar or artificial sweeteners. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can be just as harmful to your teeth as real sugar. 

Acidic beverages like coffee and tea can also damage tooth enamel, and if you add sugar to these drinks you’re only making matters worse. 

If you are not willing to give up these beverages, it is best to drink them in one sitting rather than sip on them throughout the day. It can also help to brush your teeth after drinking them or at least drink water afterwards to rinse off your teeth. 

The Frequency of Snacking and Drinking

How often you snack or drink beverages other than water can also affect your dental health. Your mouth naturally produces enzymes that keep the bacteria levels lower in your mouth. Bacteria are the cause of tooth decay and they feed on sugar. When you are frequently eating or drinking your mouth doesn’t have time to recover and build up these important enzymes to protect your teeth. 

Try to allow at least 2 hour stretches of time between snacks and beverages. It is ok to sip water throughout the day. 

Existing Medical Conditions

If you suffer from acid reflux, the stomach acid that backs up into your throat and even your mouth can severely erode your tooth enamel. The same is true for eating disorders such as bulimia, because the self-induced vomiting also erodes the enamel on your teeth. Diet can play a part in both of these medical conditions, as well as medication and therapy. 

Foods and Beverages that can Benefit Teeth

There are many foods that can help to improve your dental health. Dairy products like milk and cheese contain high amounts of calcium, as do leafy greens and almonds. Meat and other protein-rich foods can help to protect and rebuild tooth enamel. Vegetables and fruits, especially crunchy ones like celery, carrots, and apples, can help to naturally scrape plaque off your teeth. And even though fruits contain sugar, they balance it out with water and fiber for a healthier result. 

Dr. Jamrozek Family Dentistry Can Help You Maintain Your Dental Health

In addition to what you eat, an important part of maintaining good dental health is visiting your dentist every 6 months to have your teeth cleaned and examined. If there are any signs of tooth decay, Dr. Jamrozek will detect it and recommend treatment. Offering comprehensive dental services to families in West Milford, NJ and the surrounding area, the office of Dr. Jamrozek wants to help you achieve greater dental health.

Call 973-728-3779 today to schedule a visit or request an appointment.