What you eat and drink can have a big impact on your teeth. Eating a balanced diet is a key part of this as it will ensure your body has all the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, there are also some harmful foods and drinks that you should limit or avoid, as well as some tooth friendly foods that you should enjoy.
How Can Food Damage Your Teeth?
Food can cause problems for your teeth in several ways. One of the most common issues is staining, which can be caused by foods such as berries as well as drinks like tea and coffee. Although staining is a cosmetic issue it can still have a big impact on your confidence and appearance.
Other issues caused by food can be more harmful. Sugary and acidic foods can increase the chances of developing cavities and other oral health problems.
Sugary foods can provide food for the bacteria that create plaque on your teeth. When you eat a lot of sugar, you have more of these harmful bacteria in your mouth and they produce more plaque, which can lead to tooth decay.
Acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes can soften and wear away tooth enamel. Once the protective outer layer of enamel is eroded, your teeth will be more vulnerable to decay and you could also experience sensitivity or discolouration.
Limiting your intake of these foods and restricting them to mealtimes when they will be mixed with less harmful choices can help to prevent damage. You can also try switching them for some of the healthier choices.
The Best Foods for Your Teeth
Food isn’t always bad for your teeth. If you want to enjoy a tooth-friendly diet then you should try to include the following types of foods in your meals.
- Sugar-Free Alternatives: switching sugar for sweetener or choosing healthier options such as snacking on carrot sticks can be great for your teeth. It is a good idea to check the labels when buying processed foods as some can contain a lot of hidden sugar. Sugar-free gum is a particularly good choice as it encourages saliva production which can clean and protect your teeth.
- Foods that Neutralise Acids: acidic foods can erode tooth enamel, but there are also some foods that can protect against acid. If you are eating anything acidic then you can reduce the effect by drinking milk or water, or eating a neutralising food such as cheese afterwards. Watery foods such as celery, carrots or other vegetables can also help to counteract the effect of acid on your teeth. When you eat them raw, they can be particularly effective because chewing on crunchy fruits or vegetables can help to produce more saliva and dislodge bacteria and sugar from your teeth.
- Foods that Provide Calcium: teeth need plenty of calcium to stay healthy, so it is important to include options such as dairy products, nuts and green vegetables in your diet.