According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your oral health is sometimes the first to feel the impact of a bad diet. When you eat sweets and carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth converts the sugar in those foods into acid. Acid erodes enamel, causing tooth sensitivity, decay and, eventually, cavities.
Knowing what to eat for optimal oral health is important but when you eat is key too. Candies and cough drops stay in your mouth for much longer than easily chewed foods and will result in more damage. Similarly, munching all day on carb-loaded and sugar-heavy snacks exposes your teeth to more acid throughout the day. We recommend you eat these foods during your regular meals and rinse your mouth after snacking.
What to Avoid
Limit your consumption of these items:
Substitute sugar-laden drinks such as soda and lemonade with unsweetened tea, coffee, milk, orange juice (fortified with vitamin D and calcium) and, of course, water.
What to Add
A wholesome diet consists of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, legumes and whole grains. Calcium-rich foods are at the top of the list for better oral health. Think beyond milk—cheese, plain yogurt, nuts and even leafy greens all contain calcium. Dairy products and nuts will also provide protein, which will help you to stave off hunger.
Finally, here’s a tip to help you freshen your breath and clean your teeth with no toothbrush around. Have an apple! Though they’re not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing, crunchy foods help to remove plaque and stimulate saliva production, which, in turn, will help to wash away acid. Carrots and celery work well for this too and are also low in calories.