It’s 9 pm, you’re midway through your favorite show and you want a snack. Wander into the kitchen and what do you choose? Ice cream is tempting, but in the end you choose your favorite: chocolate chip cookies.
What you may not realize is that you’ve just put your teeth under siege. For the next twenty minutes, in fact, the sugar in that nighttime snack will combine with plaque in your mouth to weaken your enamel and allow tooth decay to begin. And if you don’t brush and floss as thoroughly as you should before you go to bed that night, it’s even easier for decay to set in.
We all know that our diet affects our health. That’s old news. But what many adults don’t realize is that the foods you eat–or don’t eat–play a big role in your oral health, as well. The vitamins and minerals in certain foods can go a long way in strengthening your teeth to prevent against decay, so make sure you’re giving your teeth everything they need to stay healthy by incorporating these four things into your diet today.
Calcium is perhaps the most important ingredient in preventing tooth decay, especially in young children. By incorporating calcium into your diet, you’ll strengthen your teeth to make them extra resilient in fighting off decay. Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium–not to mention a good source of the cultures that help your stomach stay healthy. And because calcium isn’t found in the fat, you can choose low-fat options without sacrificing the mineral.
Othef good sources of calcium: broccoli, spinach, canned salmon (with bones) and dried beans.
When you think of good oral health, you probably don’t think of raisins–but you should. They’re tiny pockets of fiber which keep the saliva in your mouth flowing, helping to wash away the bacteria that cause decay and cavities. And because they’re sweet, snacking on raisins can actually satisfy your sugar craving, making it less likely you’ll be tempted by those donuts in the breakroom.
Other good sources of fiber: fresh fruits, other dried fruits, vegetables, beans and bran.
Whole Grain Pasta
Whole grain sources, like pasta, breads and brown rice, provide the B vitamins and iron you need to help keep your gums healthy. Not only that, but they’re also high in fiber, which we’ve already pointed to as crucial to good oral health. Make sure you’re choosing whole grain, though, and not refined grains–that means the grain was kept whole, instead of being broken down and “refined” for a longer shelf life.
Other good sources of whole grains: Bran, brown rice, whole grain cereals
Almonds are a good source of fiber and calcium–a powerful combination to help your mouth fight against decay. Bring a jar with you to work, or toss a small package of the nuts in your bag to help you make smart snacking choices throughout the day. Your mouth will stronger because you did.
Your Dentist Cares
Dr. Seth Bannan, your 32119 dentist, truly cares about your oral health. If it’s been awhile since your last dental exam, or if you have a question and would like to talk to an expert who knows, call, email or visit us today. We never get tired of seeing you smile.