What to Eat to Prevent Tooth Decay

We all understand the importance of proper dental hygiene to help prevent tooth decay and maintain our oral health. Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups is vital, and you do your part at home by brushing twice a day and flossing, but is there more that you can do?

Avoiding sugary foods is another way to protect your teeth, but what about eating ones that can actively help strengthen your teeth?


Here are some foods to consider when wondering what to eat to prevent tooth decay

  • Cheese and Dairy. Many people love cheese, and the good news is that your teeth love it too. Aside from having little sugar, cheese contains calcium, protein, and vitamin D, important for the health of your enamel. Calcium in these foods mix with plaque and stick to the teeth, guarding against decay while helping to rebuild enamel. Studies have even shown that chewing on cheese for three minutes causes your mouth pH to increase over the course of 30 minutes. How does this help? Low pH is a sign of acidity, increasing the chance of decay. Drinking milk after sweets has also been shown to reduce plaque on teeth in addition to providing calcium.

If you are concerned about not getting enough calcium due to lactose intolerance or a dislike of dairy, seek out foods and beverages fortified with calcium, such as soy milk.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables. The high fibre content of crunchy fruits and vegetables stimulate the flow of saliva in your mouth. This is your body’s natural defence against cavities, helping to wash away food debris and fight bacteria. Biting into an apple or other solid fruits and vegetables like carrots and celery also helps to scrub the teeth clean. While some express concern over the sugar content of some fruit, the fibre and water content are enough to ensure that you are helping more than hurting.
  • Sugarless Chewing Gum. When you chew sugarless gum following a meal, it can help to rinse acid away from your teeth. Just be sure that you are chewing sugarless gum. Go one step further by chewing gum sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to have decay-preventative qualities and may even inhibit the oral bacteria that causes cavities.
  • Green and Black Teas. Compounds found in these teas act to suppress bacteria, slowing the process behind cavities and gum disease. Some people like to add sugar to their teas. If this includes you, be sure to rinse your mouth with water or brush not too long after consuming.
  • Water with Fluoride. Water with fluoride is great for drinking and rinsing your mouth after eating foods containing sugar. The benefit remains even when added to foods like dehydrated soup. Fluoride supplementation is available for those who do not have fluoride in their water.

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, and with a proper dental routine including a healthy diet, they can. Brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist should never be overlooked, but you can give your oral health a boost when you know what to eat to prevent tooth decay. 

 

Want to learn more about how your diet impacts your smile? See how prebiotics help to improve your oral health.

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