Food, Tooth Decay, and You

Garner Dentist Serving Patients From Cary, North Carolina and Surrounding Communities

There are a wide variety of foods that can help prevent tooth decay, and some that you should avoid for the same reason.  Next time you visit the grocery store, keep in mind the facts listed in this article and do your teeth a favour.

The Good:  High-Fiber Foods

High-fiber foods aren’t just good for your digestive tract, they are also excellent for your teeth.  They keep your saliva going, which makes for better defenses against tooth decay.  Whole grain foods also provide B-complex vitamins and iron, building blocks of gum health, plus magnesium (great for bones and teeth).  Dried and fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole-grain foods such as brown rice, bran, certain cereals and pastas provide you with the fiber that you need.

The Good:  Calcium

Did you know that calcium, which is present in milk products (yogurt, milk, cheese, cream, butter, and more), helps make your teeth and bones strong?  Broccoli, bok choy and other leafy greens are also good sources of calcium, as are almonds and dried beans.

The Bad:  Sugar

Sugar and plaque work together to weaken your tooth enamel, which then leads to tooth decay.  Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or other sugary snack when you have the munchies, go for something healthy, instead.  A handful of grapes has fiber, some whole grain crackers with cheese have fiber and calcium, and celery with peanut butter have fiber and protein.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to healthy snacks that are good for you and your teeth.

Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss!

Even with making the right food choices, you still need to brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss regularly.  By eating the right foods and staying on top of dental hygiene, you’ll make your teeth happy and keep them healthy for years to come.  Develop good eating habits in children from the start, and they will carry those habits on through their entire lives.

Tools:  The Food Pyramid

The Food Pyramid has been developed by the USDA to provide a guideline of what you should try to eat throughout the day in order to meet all your nutritional needs.  By following the food pyramid, you get all the nutrients that you and your teeth need, and you can be sure that you are not missing anything!

Tips

-        Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time and keep stored in small baggies or containers where they are easy to access.  If healthy snacks are the first thing you see, you are more likely to go for them instead of unhealthy ones.

-        Freeze berries, grapes, etc. in small containers for a quick, cool snack that can be eaten frozen or thawed.

-        Purchase nuts, seeds, whole grain pastas, and more at bulk food stores to save on cost and packaging.

-        Try replacing one sugary beverage per day with a glass or two of water per day.  Water is far better for your teeth!

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