5 Diet Changes To Promote Healthy Teeth
Even when we take care of our smile with regular cleanings, brushing, and flossing, nutrition still plays a large role in our dental health. When it comes to our teeth, the old adage “Garbage in garbage out” applies. Although there are certain foods that we have known to cause teeth and gum issues for decades (here’s looking at you, sugar), there are many that also promote dental hygiene. So, maybe it is less about restriction and more about replacing certain foods.
- Steer clear of added sugars and particularly candies. There are many substitutes to replace sugar in your home baking that are natural plant based alternatives, such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. An even better alternative is to replace sugary treats or snacks with naturally sweet foods such as fruit. Smart snacking is a good start to keeping your smile healthy. With time, your sugar cravings will subside and you will be grabbing that apple without even thinking about it.
- Soda is the largest source of sugar in most diets. Cutting sodas from your diet may not only enhance your smile but also your waistline. Not only are sodas loaded with added sugars but they also often contain phosphoric and/ or citric acids that wear away tooth enamel. Replace these sugar bombs with sparkling water to satisfy that bubbly craving.
- Trade processed baked goods and snacks for nutrient dense, calcium rich foods. Yogurt and cheese, almonds, and dark green leafy veggies are rich foods that promote healthy teeth and bones. Phosphorous is good for strong teeth and can also be found in yogurt and dairy, almonds, and even eggs and beans.
- Stay away from white sandwich bread! You know that childhood feeling of biting into a peanut butter sandwich made on white bread and the bread instantly sticks into your teeth and the roof of your mouth. When this happens, sugar and other bacterias are hiding out on your teeth waiting for the opportunity to cause tooth decay and cavities. Make the switch to whole grain breads. Not only are these much lower in sugar, but the heartier texture is less likely to stick between your teeth. In addition, your heart health will thank you for making the change.
- Swap sugary chewing gum for naturally sweetened alternatives. It is common practice to chew gum after a meal to clean your teeth and freshen your breath. Many gums contain either sugar that is clearly bad for your teeth or heavy artificial sweeteners that may not be much better for the rest of your body. Choosing a gum sweetened with xylitol, a natural alcohol that reduces bacteria may be an alternative that not only reduces sugar intake but also cleans the mouth naturally. Stevia is another plant based sweetener that is popping up in more chewing gums.
In addition to healthy eating, oral health problems can be prevented by regular brushing and flossing as well as seeing a dentist at least twice a year. Help your child establish healthy eating habits now that will stick with them for a lifetime of physical and oral health.