Today’s typical American diet carries much of the blame for tooth decay. Back in the 1930s, a Cleveland dentist undertook a study to compare the diets of isolated Australian Aborigines, remote tribes in Africa, Canadian Indians and isolated groups of Eskimos and found they had no tooth decay. Once exposed to modern foods and food habits, there was a rapid loss of immunity to tooth decay. At San Antonio Periodontics & Implants, we want your teeth and oral health to be the best it can be.
We Are What We Eat
We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat”. First coined in 1826 in French, the term simply means that in order to be fit and healthy – and that includes oral health – you need to eat good food. It’s always possible to change your eating habits and become a healthier consumer. It’s better to start children at a young age on a path of lifetime healthy eating habits.
What’s Good and What’s Bad
Obviously, a diet high in sugar is going to be a probable cause of tooth decay. And eating better goes hand-in-hand with brushing and flossing. But the choices of food available to us are monumental – how to know which ones are best and worst when it comes to our teeth. Here are some good – and not so good – food choices:
The Not So Good
• Candy – It’s most likely OK in very small and spaced out doses. Be careful because hard candy and sticky candy can crack teeth and pull out fillings.
• Citrus fruit – Good for your body, not so good for your teeth. Orange juice seems to cause the least amount of damage, when compared to lemon and grapefruit, but good brushing and flossing are essential when consuming acidic fruits and juices.
• Soda – You already know that the sugar in soda is not good for you or your teeth, but carbonated drinks actually contain enough acid to do more damage to teeth than the sugar content.
• Crackers – When you have a tummy upset, many times the advice is to eat some crackers. While that may help your stomach, the carbs in crackers convert to sugar in the mouth very quickly and crackers become mushy and end up lodged in molars and between teeth.
• Sugarless gun – Chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva, which washes away acids produced by bacteria in your mouth (stick to the mint flavors, if possible).
• Water – Ah, good old water. You knew it was going to show up on the good list, right? There isn’t much that is better for the healthy you than water, which in the case of your mouth, washes sugars and acids off teeth.
• Dairy – Milk, cheese and other dairy products provide calcium, an important mineral for strong and healthy teeth.
• High fiber foods – Leafy greens and other high-fiber foods provide all sorts of benefits for a healthy you. But for your teeth, it’s a workout – which is good! A lot of chewing stimulates saliva (see sugarless gum above) while your teeth essentially get a good scrubbing.
• Strawberries – Fruit is good for us, but did you know that strawberries contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener. As always, be sure to floss to remove those little seeds that can get stuck in your teeth.
At San Antonio Periodontics & Implants, we care about your complete oral health. Please contact us today for an appointment to consult on how we can best help you and your family maintain bright, healthy smiles. The first step toward a healthy smile is to schedule an appointment!
Our professional and gentle treatment of gum disease, cosmetic procedures and dental implants is personalized.