Tooth decay is the arch-nemesis of whiter teeth. It is ugly. And it can even be painful.
Nobody likes decaying teeth but bacteria.
Those nasty bacteria have less of a fighting chance when the environment in the mouth is healthier and less of a breeding ground. To do this, eating the right foods must be a habit.
Just like we need to eat the right foods for the rest of the body to be healthy, we need to eat the right foods for our mouths to be healthy.
Which Foods Prevent Tooth Decay?
Get Enough Calcium
Most of us associate calcium with strong bones and teeth. Calcium is a necessary ingredient for keeping tooth decay at bay. The number one go-to source for calcium is dairy. It’s easy to grab cheese, a glass of milk, or a cup of yogurt.
Guess what? Cheese stimulates those wonderful salivary glands. More saliva means bacteria are carried away more effectively. That is great news for your mouth.
The calcium and phosphates in dairy products help to replace the minerals in your teeth while rebuilding your tooth enamel.
However, absolutely no amount of wishing, hoping, or praying will make that calcium jump into those foods’ fat. So, full-fat dairy products are not necessary.
Dairy isn’t the only way to boost your calcium intake. You can grab a fork to munch on leafy greens, bok choy, broccoli, and canned fish with bones, or grab some almonds and Brazil nuts.
Eat Your Veggies, Fruit, and Fiber
Did you know that chewing on high-fiber foods keeps the saliva flowing in your mouth and that in turn creates natural mineral defenses to prevent cavities? Dried fruits and fresh fruits can be high in fiber.
Other options to increase your fiber include veggies like Brussels sprouts, beans, beans, and peas. Or you can grab a handful of almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, or pecans.
Choose Whole Grains
Carbs definitely get a bad rap. However, facts are facts. Whole grains are high in fiber, just like fruits and veggies. Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins and iron, which contribute to healthy gums. Magnesium can also be found in whole grains, which is needed for healthy bones and teeth.
White bread doesn’t count, much to many people’s dismay. You are much better off choosing brown rice, whole-grain bread or cereal, and whole grain pasta.
Sip Green or Black Tea
Green tea and black tea are both rich in polyphenols that affect plaque bacteria. Polyphenols fight off bacteria and can even kill them. Wehoo! Bring on the bacteria destruction.
Drinking green or black tea can help to prevent bacteria from multiplying and creating the nasty acid that eats away at your teeth.
Well, don’t chew just any gum. Chew on sugarless gum—especially after meals. Chewing on sugar-free gum stimulates saliva flow and helps to remove all those food particles hanging around your teeth and gums.
So when you don’t have a toothbrush handy after a meal, grab a stick of gum with xylitol. Xylitol is the better choice in sweeteners for sugarless gum.
There ain’t no good guys … There ain’t no bad guys … Really?
No. Not really. There are definitely bad guys when it comes to tooth decay. And, of course, there are good guys. So who are the villains of tooth decay?
To prevent tooth decay, you are going to want to avoid these:
- Soda. This stuff is loaded with sugar. What’s more, they contain both citric and phosphoric acid that destroys your tooth enamel.
- Starchy foods that sit on your teeth. Squishy white bread and crunchy, delicious potato chips are bad news. Bad news, I tell you! Just walk away.
- Gooey sweets and hard candy. Suckers, hard candy, gummy bears, chewy candy … they are the nemesis of healthy teeth. BUT grab you some chocolate, people! It rinses off of your teeth more easily than other sweets.
What’s the Plan, Stan?
(And you do need a plan to avoid tooth decay.)
How should you be eating to avoid tooth decay?
Cut the sugar. It is a cavity-causing criminal. Reduce sugar to reduce cavities. You can’t just cut the sugar; you also need to make some other changes to your diet if you want to have a healthy mouth.
Breakfast is Important
You should really plan to enjoy a breakfast that is low in sugar. But if you must have a cinnamon roll, breakfast is best because you are more than likely at home and can perform your oral routine!
If you drink juice or eat something acidic for breakfast, then you’ll need to give it thirty minutes before brushing. The acid weakens your enamel, so brushing right away can damage your enamel.
Go for Soup
Soup is a great choice because it’s not usually high in sugar. It gives you the sense of eating an entire meal, helping you mentally prepare to avoid candy and soda.
If you work at an office, take a thermos of soup and a salad or piece of fruit to work instead of candy bars, chips, and sandwiches. And, not to be a total Debbie Downer, do not snack on candy at your co-workers’ desks.
Raw Veggies are Excellent
Be like a bunny. Choose carrots and celery. They taste great raw and can also clean your teeth while you eat. They are fibrous and gently scrub your enamel every time you take a bite.
Boiled and cooked veggies do not have the same effect. A diet rich in fresh vegetables is great for your oral health. Raw veggies have no refined sugars or fats, and even though you may get the occasional bit of kale stuck between your teeth, fresh greens won’t harm your teeth like a hunk of Dorito or a piece of candy sitting on your teeth.
Fresh Fruit is Fantastic
Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges can damage your teeth if you eat too much. Plus, if you’re prone to dry mouth, then you’ll do even more damage as you need saliva to neutralize the acidity.
You can rinse with water, but it’s best to avoid these fruits altogether and eat fibrous, low-acidic fruits like apples. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?!
In fact, apples provide many of the same benefits offered by raw vegetables like carrots and celery, but they’ll also give you a sugar fix that you might be missing.
Drink Water and Rinse Your Mouth Out
If you look up oil pulling on Pinterest, you will find countless pins. Oil pulling is just one of the many benefits brought to you by coconut oil. Just grab a spoonful and stick it in your cheek until it melts, swish the oil around your mouth for twenty minutes, and then spit. The oil is known to attract all the bacteria and food particles, removing them.
Don’t try this with corn oil or vegetable oil. That won’t do much. But using coconut oil? Well, there is some truth to it. Researchers found that oil pulling can greatly reduce the level of bacteria in the mouth, putting a smile on the face of millions of proponents of this trendy technique.
Not to burst your bubble, but the same researchers tested this technique with water and found it to be just as effective. In other words, some people believe that the act of vigorously rinsing is what’s removing the bacteria, not the oil.
If you want a clean and healthy way to stay cavity-free, you can use this to your advantage. After every meal, rinse your mouth with water. This will help to remove the bacteria and stop it from sticking to your teeth and gums. It will also help to neutralize the acidity in your mouth without drying it out as alcohol-based mouthwashes do.
Hydrate can often feel like a buzzword. But it’s a buzzword that isn’t going anywhere. It’s almost never a bad idea to drink lots of water. Hydration is crucial to regulating the flow of saliva, which is essential for neutralizing acidity and destroying bacteria.
Fight Tooth Decay with Food
Unless you have a medical reason or existing stains on your teeth, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to maintain those pearly whites with a healthy, low-sugar diet. Needless to say, if your teeth are deeply stained and no amount of brushing is changing that, then gorging on celery and apples will not be of any help to you.
The root of the problem is located beyond the enamel, in a place where brushing just can’t reach. No, it’s not the twilight zone.
Your teeth are made up of the outer surface, a.k.a. the enamel, and an inner surface, a.k.a. the dentin. Enamel can be discolored with plaque and tartar. Dentin is discolored by numerous factors, including medication, trauma, and age. (Another amazing thing to come with gray hair and sagging skin.) Dentin discoloration that shows through can only be improved by bleaching.
You don’t need to pay a few thousand dollars for a bleaching tray, and you don’t even need to try a risky, costly, and questionably-produced bleaching solution. The Snow Teeth Whitening system was designed to give you a budget-friendly, simple, and safe way to bleach your teeth in your jammies at home.
Eat your fiber, get plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid sugar, stay hydrated, do your oral hygiene routine twice a day, use Snow once in a while, and you’ll have a show-stopping smile all year long!