When it comes to avoiding tooth decay, dietary choices play a key role. While it’s important to avoid foods that cause cavities; it’s also important to eat plenty of healthy foods that keep your teeth clean and strong. Here are some of the most surprising foods that reduce your risk of tooth decay, along with some problematic foods you should avoid.
Foods to Embrace
While cavity-causing bacteria fuel themselves on food particles, you can actually use food to prevent cavities. Certain foods and drinks contain essential nutrients that strengthen teeth, along with healthy probiotics that reduce the population of unhealthy bacteria in your mouth.
- Eggs: You may be surprised to learn that eggs are rich in vitamin D, an essential nutrient that makes our teeth stronger.
- Sweet potatoes: These are very high in Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for salivary function, which balances oral pH to keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
- Salami: Cured meats contain K2, a lesser-known vitamin that appears to play a key role in keeping our teeth strong.
- Yogurt: Loaded with vitamin D and calcium, yogurt contains immunity-boosting probiotics, which can help reduce the number of bad bacteria in your mouth.
- Cheese: A growing body of research is showing that cheese can help ward off cavities by strengthening tooth enamel.
- Avocados: High in vitamins and minerals, avocados are rich in potassium, which helps prevent mineral loss in teeth and bones.
- Beans: Most types of beans are rich in phosphate, an essential nutrient that can remineralize teeth and keep them strong.
- Tea: You can also consume certain drinks to prevent cavities; studies suggest that tea can help reduce harmful bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease.
- Milk: Because it is also rich in calcium, milk is another beverage that can help prevent cavities by strengthening your teeth.
You can also protect your oral health by eating plenty of juicy fruits and fibrous vegetables, which help keep your mouth moist and scrub teeth clean as you chew.
Foods to Avoid
While it’s important to eat foods that keep our teeth healthy and clean, it’s also important to avoid problematic foods that can increase the risk of tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, the most troublesome foods, include:
- Ice: Ice can easily crack or break teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
- Citrus fruits: While oranges, limes and lemons are loaded with healthy vitamins; they also contain abrasive acids that can damage tooth enamel.
- Coffee: Coffee contains acids that can etch teeth. It also contains caffeine, which can dry your mouth out and make it more habitable for bacteria.
- Sticky foods: Avoid chewy candy and dehydrated fruits, which tend to stick between teeth, creating a steady fuel source for cavity-causing microorganisms.
- Chips and crackers: Because they tend to break apart into tiny fragments, chips and candy also get wedged between teeth.
- Soda: Research has shown that sodas are a major cause of tooth decay because they contain large amounts of acid and sugar.
- Sports drinks: Just like soda, sports drinks are typically very high in sugar and acids, which can wear down tooth enamel.
- Alcohol: Because it dries out your mouth, alcohol can leave you more susceptible to tooth decay. Many people are also more willing to eat problematic foods when drinking.
In addition to avoiding these foods, you can also significantly reduce your risk of tooth decay by brushing twice daily and visiting your dentist for routine cleanings.