(Health Secrets) Could what you’re eating be unhealthy for your beautiful teeth? It’s common knowledge that sugary foods can rot teeth, and dark liquids like cola and coffee can stain your pearly whites, but there are other foods that threaten oral health. Knowing what to avoid as well as recommended foods to prevent problems can lead to fewer painful problems with teeth and gums, and fewer trips to the dentist.
Foods to Prevent Decay
Foods high in phosphorus and calcium are generally good for your teeth. These minerals help to stop tooth decay and protect the enamel on your teeth. Your teeth go through a natural process called remineralization, which simply means that your body re-deposits minerals like calcium and phosphorus onto your enamel after they’ve been stripped away by acids. Many foods are acidic, and those acids eat away at your teeth enamel. Eating a mineral rich diet is just what you need to do to keep your teeth healthy.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are high in calcium and phosphorus. Nuts, almonds particularly, are a good source of calcium. Leafy green vegetables and legumes are high in calcium. Bok choy, broccoli, and dried beans are excellent choices.
Eating fiber is good for your oral health as well. Fiber is important for saliva production that helps to prevent tooth decay. Those citrus fruits that you should be careful of because of their high acidic factor are also full of fiber. It is smart to continue eating citrus fruits, but to combine them with other foods in a larger meal.
Raisins, dates, beans, almonds, and peanuts have high fiber content, as do bananas. Bran is practically all fiber. Vegetables are chock full of fiber too, and many whole-grain products contain fiber. Whole grains have a large amount of iron and B vitamins in addition. Brown rice is another good choice for fiber.
A few specific foods you should add to your healthy teeth diet include celery, pears, and sesame oil. Raw celery is beneficial because you have to chew it, and that makes the saliva flow. A bonus to eating celery is that it contains fibrous strands that clean the teeth. Don’t like celery? Try chewing gum sweetened with xylitol instead. This stimulates saliva and can dislodge food stuck in your teeth. Artificial sweeteners are largely criticized and best avoided, but xylitol prevents bacteria from metabolizing sugar. These bacteria are what decay teeth.
Pears stimulate saliva production too. Research shows that pears help to neutralize the acid on teeth.
Sesame seeds may decrease harmful plaque. They are believed to assist with remineralization too. If those aren’t enough reasons to consider sesame seeds and the oil made from them, research shows that gargling sesame oil works as well as mouthwash to kill bacteria, decrease plaque, and lower gingival scores. It isn’t just Western medicine that advocates sesame oil. Practitioners of Ayurveda are proponents of sesame oil gargling.
Now you know what to eat but not what to drink. Water is always recommended for anyone, anytime. Unsweetened tea is also good for your teeth.
What Not to Consume
Beverages with sugar and artificial color and flavoring are definitely not recommended. If you do succumb to the temptation for soft drinks or other sugary drinks, try to drink them quickly and give your mouth a good rinsing instead of sipping them over a long period of time, which exposes your teeth repeatedly to bacteria-feeding sugar and acids that lead to decay with every sip. But wait a half hour before brushing to protect your tooth enamel.
In addition to avoiding sweet drinks, avoid all sweet foods. Dried fruits are surprisingly bad for your teeth as they are not only sweet but sticky. They don’t come off the teeth easily. Processed foods like French fries and chips are best kept to a minimum.
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