February 13, 2020
Most people know how to eat healthy for the sake of managing their weight. But do you know how to eat in a way that benefits your oral health? While these two methods of eating might seem similar, there are a few key differences between them. To eat in a way that keeps your teeth and gums healthy, a dentist in Enterprise is here with a few tips on sticking to a mouth-healthy diet.
Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Teeth?
Your mouth is home to lots and lots of bacteria, some of which create a sticky film called plaque on your teeth. When you consume sugar, the bacteria in plaque feast on this sugar and leave behind a destructive waste product that destroys your tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity. However, if you keep your sugar consumption low, bacteria in your mouth don’t have enough opportunity to produce acid that eats away at your enamel.
How Can You Snack Smarter to Prevent Cavities?
Aside from the amount of sugar in your food, there are a couple things you should keep in mind when selecting a snack:
- How often you eat. If you nibble on snacks throughout the day, you’re more likely to do some serious damage to your teeth and gums. Every time you eat something sugary, harmful acids form in your mouth from the bacteria. These acids continue to damage your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you’re finished eating. Stick to eating sweets with or right after meals.
- The texture of the food. Compared to foods you quickly chew and swallow, chewy or gooey snacks are more likely to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth. Bacteria then have plenty of time to eat these sugars and produce decay-causing waste.
What Are Some Healthy Snack Options?
Whenever you feel snacky in between meals, put away the candy and instead opt for something low-fat like raw vegetables, fresh fruits, or whole-grain bread or crackers. Dairy products like milk and cheese contain lots of calcium and phosphates that strengthen your teeth, making them less vulnerable to cavities. Lean meats, nuts, and seeds are also rich in vitamins that your gums and teeth need in order to thrive.
To help your mouth stay free of decay and gum disease, limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Eat a variety of healthy foods from all areas of the food pyramid (except the very top layer). Finally, floss and brush with a fluoridated toothpaste every day to get rid of plaque!
About the Author
Dr. Tyler Schaffeld graduated second in his class from the Oregon Health and Science University. Every day he looks forward to building relationships with his wonderful patients. He believes in the power of preventive care to keep your smile healthy, and that includes sticking to a mouth-healthy diet. To learn more about how to ensure excellent oral health, visit Dr. Schaffeld’s website.
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