Toothy Nutrition

Do you chomp on ice cubes?  Bite your nails?  Suck on lemons?  What you chew and eat can affect your teeth.

Top 10 Ways to Preserve the Smile

Being the daughter of a dentist has some benefits.  I’ve been advised to…

#10 Minimize Sticky Foods! Some examples of foods that stick to your mouth are raisins, dried fruits, candy, and granola.  If you choose to eat these, rinse with mouthwash or brush teeth to get rid of some of those residues.

#9 Minimize Carbonated Soda–Especially Sugary! The sugar in sodas will wash through your mouth and collect around the gum line.  Unfortunately, any carbonated drink–even diet–is acidic and can still corrode the enamel on your teeth.

#8 Eat Fruits and Vegetables –They Trigger Saliva! Saliva has a neutral pH, which is the state we want our mouths to be in.  Saliva is therefore a natural mouthwash for your teeth.

Veggies: Celery, cucumber, and carrots stimulate the salivary glands, which can help wash away other food debris.  Those foods also can be natural toothbrushes in that they cleanse teeth and remove surface stains.  Spinach, broccoli, and other greens have minerals that can form a bio-film over the teeth so that pigments from common staining foods (see #3) have less of a chance.

Fruit: Plums, pears, and apples also stimulate the salivary glands and act as that natural tooth brush. Strawberries have malic acid, known to stimulate saliva production and whiten teeth naturally (if done infrequently).

#7 Stop Biting Your Nails! It isn’t just for hygienic reasons… Biting your nails can cause teeth to move out of place and enamel to become weaker.

#6 Don’t Chomp on Ice Cubes! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chewing on ice is harmful since there is potential to cause gum injury and microscopic fractures in enamel. Chewing on ice is especially not recommended in those who have sensitivity, braces or any recent dental work.

#5 Eat Cheese. Some research has suggested that cheese reduces cariogenic (cavity-forming) activity if consumed at the very end of the meal.  Other mechanisms of action include that casein and whey in cheese can help reduce enamel deterioration.

#4 Don’t Be a Lemon-Sucker. Lemons are loaded with acid.  The goal is to keep the pH of your mouth in a neutral/basic state.  Lemons are in the same category as candy and soda and can corrode the enamel pretty easily.  Next time, you may think twice before taking that Tequila shot…

#3 Minimize the Major Teeth Staining Agents. Coffee, dark teas, dark sodas, fruit juices, balsamic vinegar, red wine and smoking can stain your teeth– big time.  Good news is that practicing the #1 and #2 methods below can help remove stains.  If there is one stainer to quit for good, smoking is it.  Tobacco causes brown stains that penetrate into the enamel, and the longer you smoke, the deeper the stains.

#2 Daily Brushing & Flossing! The ADA recommends brushing teeth twice per day and flossing daily.  More specific instructions here.

#1 Get Your Teeth Cleaned 2x Per Year. Dental cleanings are preventative for health problems but also help remove any stains in which you’ve collected over the year.

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