Did you know that your diet highly contributes to the health of your bones, and vicariously to their longevity? Not only does sugar rot your teeth, but did you know that certain foods can contribute to the demise of your teeth by leaching vital nutrients and minerals from the enamel and the cementum? Here is a quick guide into what to eat and what not to eat for healthy teeth.
What to eat
Dairy: Dairy is particularly good for the teeth. Not only do milk and milk products have antibacterial properties, they also are high in calcium and animal fatty acids, both of which are useful in building strong bones and teeth. Milk also coats the teeth in a mineral rich film that protects against bacteria. Aside from this, cheese, yoghurt and milk all regulate the pH of the mouth, thereby breaking up biofilm and killing bacteria, reducing the amounts of cavities by negating the acids that bacteria create which destroy teeth.
Fruits and vegetables: Which most fruits contain fructose which is a sugar and is bad for teeth, vegetables and fruits with water contents are actually good for the teeth, as they scrape the surface of the teeth because of their skins, and also break up biofilm and freshen breath. Fruits are slightly acidic, but their acidic effect can be negated by drinking a cup of water afterwards, and fruits and veggies with high water contents like cucumber, celery, apples, melons, and pears aren’t acidic at all. Fruits and veggies do have lots of micronutrients that are very good for teeth and bones, and which can help you avoid vitamin deficiencies and conditions in which your body is weakened and more susceptible to an attack by bacteria.
Broccoli: Much to the dismay of children worldwide, broccoli is very good for teeth. It has high levels of iron, calcium and is hard enough to scrape the enamel, ridding it of bacteria and plaque, but soft enough that it does not scratch the enamel. Good news is there are plenty of ways to prepare it, and there are some recipes that even the most finicky kids will like.
Water: The best thing for your teeth and your health is to drink water. Cells resist bacteria more when they are saturated with water then when they are without it, and your mouth is more prone to tooth decay and other problems if it is dried out. Make sure you drink at least two liters of pure water a day, no sweeteners, flavourings or anything else. MINeral water with fluoride, calcium and magnesium is the best.
What not to eat
Gooey foods: Regardless of how high the sugar content, foods that stick to teeth are bacterial feeding grounds and if tiny bits of it get stuck between the teeth, the likelihood of tooth decay becomes quite high. If you eat some gooey foods, make sure you rinse with water afterwards to remove all food detritus, and it is better to not eat sticky foods all the time. Gooey candy like caramel and toffee is possibly one of the worst things for your teeth.
Soda: Despite being delicious and caffeinated, soda is extremely bad for the teeth. It is very, very sugary, and since it is a liquid, it gets to every part of the mouth, making sure that all of the bacteria are strengthened. Aside from this, most soda is also full of carbolic acid as carbonation, which also dissolves the enamel.
Raisins: Raisins, dried figs and dried fruits in general are marketed as being healthy, which they are, as they contain essential vitamins and minerals, but calling them healthy is only a half truth. Many of these have high sugar contents and at stuck in teeth and manage to stay stuck there, giving ground for bacteria to grow and proliferate.