Eating Right to Prevent Tooth Decay

Eating Right to Prevent Tooth Decay

It’s a fact: no one likes getting cavities filled. Luckily, there are many ways to protect your teeth from cavity-forming bacteria. From your at-home health routine to regular dental checkups, staying on top of your oral health will save you from expensive treatment down the road.

Eating tooth-friendly foods is a great way to passively boost your oral health. Just by changing up what you eat, you can help prevent tooth decay. Keep reading below to learn more about how your diet impacts tooth health.

What Contributes to Tooth Decay?

Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth. When you eat starchy or sugary foods, plaque forms on your teeth. The acid in this plaque eventually eats away at your tooth’s enamel and causes decay.

Foods that form cavities include candies, sugary soda drinks, and other sweets. Bread, pasta, and other simple starches are also bad for your teeth.

Eating to Prevent Tooth Decay

Avoiding cavity-forming foods is one way to protect your oral health. But did you know that you can actively promote tooth health by eating foods that are good for your teeth?

Many people understand the importance of diet for overall health, but it’s less common to consider the importance of diet for oral health. With a basic understanding of the benefits that certain foods have for your teeth, you can make choices that will protect your teeth and actively fight against decay.

Best Foods For Tooth Health

The best foods for your oral health tend to be the ones that are good for your overall health. Think fresh foods like fruits and veggies, calcium-rich cheeses and milks, and healthy teas.

Also be on the lookout for foods and drinks that contain fluoride. Fluoride is a trace mineral that can help prevent tooth decay. It strengthens your teeth through a process known as remineralization.

Most water sources in the U.S. are fluoridated, so incorporating fluoride into your diet is as easy as drinking tap water. Fluoride is found in coffee and black tea, raisins, potatoes, and some varieties of shellfish. It’s commonly added to toothpastes, too.

Your foods don’t need to contain fluoride or special additives to be good for your dental health. Below is a list of more of the best foods to eat to prevent tooth decay.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber help you produce more saliva, and your saliva cleans your teeth and washes away food particles. Fibrous fruits and vegetables include apples, oranges, celery, carrots, and pears. As you chew these foods, they also stimulate your gums and help fight against gum disease.

Fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid, among other vitamins and nutrients, can help protect you against bacterial infections that lead to tooth decay.

Dairy Products

Much like fibrous vegetables, cheeses help you produce cavity-fighting saliva. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products contain calcium, which is good for bone health and can help keep your teeth strong. Many dairy products also contain caseins, which are a type of protein that form a protective film over your enamel when you eat.

Green and Black Tea

If you’re looking for a tooth-friendly beverage, tea is a good option. Drinking green or black tea (without sugar, if possible!) reduces the amount of acid and decay-causing bacteria in your mouth. If you use fluoridated water to make your tea, it will have the added bonus of remineralizing your teeth.

Tea also has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an effective tool against gum disease.

Be aware that black tea can contribute to tooth yellowing. If you’re worried about tooth staining, green tea might be a better option for you.

Protect Your Smile!

Oral health is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining the health of your teeth helps you avoid complicated and costly dental procedures down the road. As an added bonus, some of the measures you take to protect your teeth can also protect your overall health.

Incorporating the foods listed above into your diet can help you improve tooth health, but it takes more than diet to keep your teeth healthy. Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine is a key part of preventing tooth decay. Brush twice a day and floss daily to prevent cavities.

On top of your at-home care, it’s important to schedule regular cleanings with your dentist. At Mesa Street Neighborhood Dental & Implants, we offer everything from routine cleanings to implants. Contact us today to find out how we can support you on your oral health journey!