March is an important month for your oral health and well-being. All of us at Maestro Dental Wellness are excited to promote National Nutrition Month by sharing some information on the types of food that can positively and negatively affect your oral health. Being mindful of these foods can make for a healthier oral environment which in turn leads to healthier and better you!
Soda and Sweetened Beverages
There are many drinks that fit into this category, such as soda, seltzers, diet soda, sweetened coffees and teas, energy drinks, vitamin waters and even some bottled spring water. Though they may taste great, they can be harmful for your teeth in the long run. Why? They are generally acidic and promote the proliferation of bad bacteria. The bad bacteria in turn produce acid that also suppresses the good bacteria. The acidic environment leads to a greater opportunity for tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth erosion.
We encourage you to work to remove these drinks from your diet. However, if that does not look like a possibility for you we would then encourage you to at least refrain from swishing or holding them in your mouth for longer than necessary. Drinking and swishing with tap water right after will help to reduce the negative effects on your teeth.
Sugar, Candy and Added sugar
Sugar and other simple carbohydrates are unhealthy for your teeth. Even dried fruit! The bacteria that live in your mouth feed on the sugar in these foods and drinks. Acid is then produced by the bacteria and that acid works to take the minerals out of your teeth and leads to the formation of tooth decay.
There are many refined carbohydrates found in foods such as white bread, potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, white rice, and certain other cereals that can negatively impact your oral health. These carbohydrates behave just as sugar does and produce the same result. We recommend reducing the amount of processed carbohydrates found in “junk food” and replacing them with healthier alternatives such as whole wheat breads, pastas, and the less sweet tasting vegetables like broccoli and celery, zucchini…maybe with some hummus!
Fruit juices may seem healthy, but many have added sugars and also can be very acidic which we know by now, is bad for your teeth. Citrus juices are particularly known for this. Always be careful of the sugar and acid content of the beverages you drink and, if you must drink them, swish and swallow plain water to wash your teeth right after. As mentioned above, never swish fruit juices around your teeth.
Today the “gummy” form of many vitamins and medicines has become ever so popular but beware. Often times the first ingredient can be sugar and the tacky consistency of these items keeps the sugar in close contact with your teeth even longer creating greater opportunity for damage.
Other Sources of Acid
We know…who does not enjoy salad dressings, wine, beer, tea, or coffee? But guess what? These are all acidic and can certainly create a problem for you.
As a quick recap, our best advice is for you to adjust your diet and remove or drastically reduce your intake of soda, sweetened beverages, refined starches, fruit juices, and anything high in acidity (low pH) or sugars. These products are detrimental to your oral health and can undo all your hard work and excellent oral hygiene.
Managing the pH of your mouth by limiting sweets, acids, and carbohydrates as well as using toothpastes and mouth washes that reduce acidity all go a long way to maintaining a healthy mouth. Should you have any questions about proper diet, healthy nutrition or oral hygiene products, please ask. We would love to assist you on your journey to complete oral health and wellness.