Did you know eating certain types of foods and avoiding others can help fight tooth decay and cavities?
Foods to Include in an Anti-Cavity Diet
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese. Calcium is a prime ingredient for preventing tooth decay, especially for growing children. The Calcium and Phosphate in dairy products help overcome the demineralization process occurring due to other foods in your diet. Having cheese for dessert increases saliva flow, which reduces enamel demineralization, neutralizes acids formed in plaque and flushes away sugars.
Leafy Greens, Canned Fish, Beans and Nuts. Other great sources of Calcium are broccoli, bok choy, spinach, canned fish with bones, salmon, dried beans, almonds, and Brazil nuts.
Fish, Oats, Broccoli, Soymilk, Tofu, and Mushrooms. Vitamin D works together with calcium to prevent cavities. In addition to milk, vitamin D can be found in these food sources.
Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables. Eating high-fiber foods keeps saliva flowing, which helps neutralize acids and enzymes that attack the enamel of your teeth. Additionally, Calcium and Phosphates present in the saliva create mineral defenses against tooth decay. Good sources of fiber are dried fruits such as dates, raisins and figs, and fresh fruits, like bananas, apples and oranges. Other options include veggies, such as beans, Brussels sprouts and peas, along with peanuts, almonds and bran.
Whole Grains. Whole grains provide B vitamins and iron, which help keep gums healthy. Whole grains also have magnesium – an important ingredient for bones and teeth. In addition, whole grains are high in fiber. Look for foods such as bran, brown rice, and whole-grain cereals and pasta to be good sources of whole grains.
Sugar-Free Chewing Gum. Although most chewing gum is a sticky, sugary dental disaster, sugar-free brands containing the natural sweetener xylitol can improve dental health.
Black and Green Tea. Drinking green or black tea delivers naturally occurring fluoride to the mouth. For example, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers found chemical components in black tea inhibit the growth of glucosyltransferase, an enzyme that helps plaque adhere to tooth enamel.
Foods to Avoid in an Anti-Cavity Diet
Sticky Candies and Sweets. If you eat sweets, go for those that clear out of your mouth quickly. So thumbs down for lollipops, caramels, and cough drops that contain refined sugar.
Starchy Foods that can get Stuck in Your Mouth. Soft breads and potato chips, for instance, can get trapped between your teeth.
Carbonated Drinks. These drinks are the leading source of added sugar among kids and teens. Besides being laden with sugar, most soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel.
Substances that Dry Out Your Mouth. These include alcohol and many medicines. If medications are the cause, consider talking to your health care provider about getting a fluoride rinse, or a fluoride gel with which to brush your teeth.
And remember, for a healthy mouth it is essential to limit sugary food consumption to meals and avoid between-meal snacking. The most important aspect of a healthy and cavity-free mouth still remains: brushing twice and flossing once a day.