5 Diet Tips for Healthy Teeth

Modern Dental Healthy FoodAs your Boise dentist, I have been emphasizing flossing a lot this month but the other side of the coin is eating healthy, whole foods.

Here is a quick overview of the last couple blog posts:

  • We eat sugar.

  • The bacteria in our mouths eat the sugar.

    • The more sugar we consume, the more the bacteria can consume.

    • The longer we leave the sugar on our teeth, the more the bacteria gets to eat.

  • All that sugar is metabolized by the bacteria and “pooped” out as acetic acid.

    • Acetic acid eats away at our teeth and weakens our gums.

    • Our teeth fall out or decay and our gums bleed and hurt.

  • You come in for your appointment and I get lots of your money to fix things.

    • After your appointment, you eat more sugar.

    • You choose not to floss and the whole process repeats itself.

Flossing is what gets rid of the bacteria and keeps it from hanging out on your teeth, munching away on sugar, and creating the acetic acid byproduct that causes all those oral health problems. Flossing is a huge and very important part of oral hygiene.

The other side of the coin is not giving the bacteria so much food in the first place. If the bacteria has less access to sugar, it won’t be able to eat as much and therefore won’t be metabolizing it as quickly or as often, therefore producing less acetic acid, and limiting the consequences (cavities, sensitive gums, etc).

How Can I Eat For My Teeth?

Here are 5 tips to remember that will help you to stop feeding all the bacteria in your teeth. Or, since all food has some sugar in it, what you can do to limit the bad effects of it.

What to Avoid

First, here is some information on what to avoid or limit in your diet. This is nothing new, but I hope you’ll pay attention to the why’s behind this advice.

  1. Limit or Eliminate Processed Sugar

Sugar and the process of the bacteria that I’ve described is what demineralizes our teeth. This is why we need toothpaste – it actually adds minerals back into our system.

  1. Say No to Energy Drinks and Soda

Now that we have high energy drinks, there’s been a huge increase in cavities. High sugar, high caffeine. It’s as bad as coffee as far as detrimental effects to your teeth. This will work against your oral health even if you are flossing daily. So just don’t drink them!

  1. Be Careful with High Glycemic Foods

Even foods like white bread, that don’t initially seem to have lots of sugar, can be very bad for your health. Processed foods like this have a high glycemic index, which basically means they quickly turn into simple sugar once we eat them. It’s almost as bad as eating sugar itself.

What to Embrace

Next, we’ll look at the kinds of drinks and foods to embrace, and some diet guidelines that will help you maintain healthy teeth.

  1. Drink Water or Milk

Just sticking with water and milk as beverages will save you a lot of heartaches and toothaches down the road. The water is what’s best for us anyway, but it also rinses your mouth when you eat it. Milk is great for teeth because it has calcium.

  1. Choose Whole Foods

Most whole foods (vegetables, fruits, meat, nuts, etc) are good for you and are relatively lower on the glycemic index. They have less sugar and more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. If you eat food with just one ingredient, then it’s hard to go wrong.

I hope you can take the advice here and see how important it is to your oral health and your overall well-being. Perhaps you can add these tips to your New Year’s Resolutions!

~Dr. Wagner