A diet rich in healthy grains, lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, unsaturated fats, essential vitamins, and minerals is critical to overall health and helps reduce the risk of obesity, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and myriad of other health concerns. What people eat and drink is also crucial to the health of their teeth and gums because it can help prevent tooth decay (caries or cavities) and gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) and may reduce other possible health risks associated with poor oral health.

From a young age, parents tell their children to brush daily, use fluoridated toothpaste, floss, and schedule regular visits with a dentist. However, leading by example in terms of healthy foods and drinks for the body correlates with a healthy mouth.

How Foods Affect Teeth

Sugary foods, alcohol, and foods that are high in carbohydrates and starch that break down into sugar before being swallowed, combine with the multiple bacteria in the mouth, and form acids that dissolve the minerals found in the tooth’s enamel. Other foods such as crackers, raisins, potato chips, and bread get lodged in between the teeth or in the crevices found in molars and if not removed contribute to decay. In addition, constantly drinking sugary sodas, coffee, and even fruit drinks throughout the day exacerbates the amount of acid being produced. This process, demineralization, occurs when the lost minerals are not being replenished. Fluoride treatments, increasing the flow of saliva to neutralize the acids, and some healthy food and drink choices can help teeth gain back lost minerals, or what is referred to as remineralization.

Healthy Foods and Drinks

There are some proactive choices that everyone can make, and selecting from the following list will help to keep his or her teeth healthy.

• Foods that are high in fiber, mildly abrasive, or that increase the flow of saliva such as crunchy fruits and vegetables including celery, apples, and carrots
• Foods that protect tooth enamel by neutralizing acids or that provide calcium and phosphorus that are necessary minerals for teeth including the lean protein found in fish, chicken, eggs, legumes, beans, seeds, dairy products, and nuts
• Foods that have a high water content like leafy green vegetables and some fruit
• Whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread
• Chewing sugarless gum, especially if it contains Xylitol proven to help reduce bacteria
• Drink plenty of water throughout the day
• Avoid or reduce the amount of salt, sugar, and alcohol

Regular Visits to the Dentist

Regular visits to a dentist is fundamental to oral health and the staff at TLC Dentistry understands how people feel about the health of their teeth and indeed how sometimes a trip to the dentist can be stressful so they treat their clients like family. Since 1962, Dr. Philip J. Lips and his team have been devoted to making every trip peaceful and relaxing for everyone using the most up-to-date and advanced dental care for routine treatments as well as cosmetic procedures and periodontal disease.