5 common foods to eat, 5 to skip, and 5 easy ways to protect your teeth and easily promote the health of your teeth.
Exposing Your Teeth
Your teeth are incredibly powerful and resilient triumphs of natural engineering and design. Embedded in the exceptionally capable jaws of a human adult, the average person can exert a bite pressure of 150 to 200 pounds per square inch. Our molars, which are designed for grinding and mashing strong roots and nuts, can apply as much as 171 pounds of force on average and as much as 270 pounds of force in some cases. While that won’t compare to the deadly bite of a crocodile, it is powerful enough to crush a variety of tastier foes such as tough cuts of meat, dense fruits, and hard nuts.
However, as amazingly and wonderfully resilient as your teeth may be, they aren’t invulnerable to the gradual wear and tear and daily forces we subject them to every day. What we directly expose our teeth too will affect the health and structural integrity of our teeth and mouth. To protect your teeth and maintain healthy teeth, watch what you eat.
5 Most Common Foods to Avoid at All Costs
According to the Scientific American, while human teeth are incredibly strong, they aren’t strong enough to overcome a particularly stale piece of bread or a common stick of licorice which may require forces in excess of 250 pounds to be completely crushed. While strong enough to withstand a lifetime of biting, chewing, and grinding with the right care and attention, your teeth are susceptible to being cracked, chipped, broken, eroded, or otherwise damaged and degraded based on what you put in your mouth.
If that describes you, there is hope for those with damaged teeth. Willow Pass Dental Care can provide state-of-the art solutions that can include a variety of tooth restoration options from dental crowns, dental veneers, dental implants, affordable dentures, or for full-mouth reconstruction there are the revolutionary All-On-4 dental implants.
5 Foods to Avoid At All Costs
While a staple of human consumption for millennia, bread is bad for your teeth on a number of levels. Its simple chemical structure means that carbohydrates become easily converted into sugars which fuel acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Worse, hard breads and bread crusts can damage or break one or more teeth. While your teeth exert a lot of force, a piece of stale crust can easily withstand up to 350 pounds of force.
2. Soft Drinks
Soft drinks are one of the worst beverages for your teeth for three critical reasons. First, soft drinks are highly acidic. What that means is that they will directly erode the protective enamel of your teeth and strip away protective minerals.
Second, soft drinks are typically loaded with simple sugars which acid-producing microbes love. This contributes to bacterial build-up, plaque, tartar, and further destruction.
Finally, soft drinks cause dry mouth or the a lack of saliva production. Saliva is one of the mouth’s primary defenses against microbial buildup and is important for the remineralization of teeth. Soft drinks, from the perspective of your enamel, wins the Triple Crown for its destructive potential. If you must consume a soft drink, at least use a straw.
While chewing ice is a banal habit, it can result in chipped, cracked, and even broken teeth. Chewing ice often wears down your enamel and is a common habit best to avoid.
4. Fruit Juices
Fruit juices are often touted for their vitamin content and purported health benefits. While undoubtedly healthier than ingesting soft drinks, juices are still highly acidic and often loaded with sugars. Even juices naturally derived from fruits with no additives will still erode your enamel and fuel bacteria. Citrus-based beverages are particularly bad for your enamel. Lemon and lime juice is as acidic as battery acid. While packed with vitamin C, the best way to imbibe a delicious glass of orange juice is with a straw.
5. Foods That Require Biting Into
An apple a day keeps the doctors away. But an apple a day may increase the likelihood that you’ll be reporting to your dentist with a broken tooth. While teeth can easily withstand the compressive forces of mastication or chewing, they are much more prone to breakage when exposed to horizontal shear forces.
Apples, carrots, corn and other foods that require you to bite your teeth into are all common culprits. Fortunately, there is an easy solution for those who love apples: slice them before you bite them.
5 Foods to Protect Your Teeth
Water not only rinses away food debris, but it also helps replenish saliva in your mouth which is critical for managing your mouth’s microbiome and essential for the process of remineralization.
Dairy products are high in calcium which is essential for the health and resilience of your teeth. Your body needs lots of calcium to help maintain adequate bone density. Look for dairy product enriched with vitamin D which works helps with calcium absorption into the body and play a critical role in the health of your body in its own right.
Seafood such as scallops, sardines, shrimp, tuna, and salmon are rich in phosphorus which, after calcium, is the second most abundant mineral in the human body. Phosphorus is directly embedded in your teeth and bones.
Vegetables provide a plethora of vitamins critical to the health of your teeth, including vitamin D which aids in the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus. Additionally, fibrous vegetables also act as a natural toothbrush gently scraping off plaque and food debris as you eat.
A growing body of research is beginning to show that your mouth, and by extension your teeth and gums, are a rich substrate for a huge mass of microbes which compose a person’s microbiome. Keeping your mouth and teeth healthy involves keeping the bad, acid producing bacteria in check. While this is typically accomplished through brushing and flossing, another way to control harmful bacteria is to help the good bacteria out-compete them.
Eating probiotic foods, like specially formulated probiotic yogurt, can introduce benign bacteria that can overwhelm and outcompete the nastier strains.
5 Easy Routines to Protect Your Teeth
1. Drink Water After Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea are notable as not only the first and second most popular beverages in the world, they are also known for their potent staining ability. To make matter worse, both drinks are especially acidic and will erode enamel over time. This double whammy of staining tannins and enamel-eroding acidity make both drinks particularly troublesome for healthy teeth.
To help with this problem, try drinking a sip of water after each sip of coffee and tea. Not only will this help you stay hydrated (caffeinated drinks are known diuretics), it will also help restore the PH of your mouth and rinse away tannins.
2. Slice Foods That Require Biting Into
Apples, corn-on-the-cob, carrots and other foods that may subject your teeth to shear forces are responsible for unknown cases of broken and chipped teeth. This all-too-common cause of tooth loss can be easily avoided: simply slice the offending food into smaller pieces. Slice apples and carrots and remove corn kernels from the cob. It’s as simple as that.
3. Dump the Carbs
Carbohydrates, particularly the simple starches found in such staple foods bread, rice, and potatoes, are bad for your teeth (and your health in general) for many reasons.
For starters, starches easily convert into sugars in the mouth. Carbohydrates tend to also stick to the surface of your teeth making for a highly damaging combination of delivering sugar directly to sugar-loving, acid-emitting microbes that like to live on your teeth. As we know, acid is the enemy of your teeth. Encouraging the flourishing of acid-producing bacteria is just not a good idea.
4. Use a Straw
Your teeth, particularly the enamel, is often the first point of contact for the contents of a variety of popular beverages and drinks. In practice, that means your teeth are exposed to highly acidic liquids and chemicals over an extended period of time. Fruit juices, sodas and other acidic or sugary drinks have the unfortunate side effect of eroding enamel and promoting the growth of acid-spewing bacteria.
Using a straw neatly bypasses the teeth entirely allowing you to enjoy your beverage without completely exposing your teeth to damaging acids. While it may look silly to sip your coffee or tea with a straw, it might be a habit to pick up if you want your teeth to stay strong and shiny for as long as possible.
5. Eat Healthy
At the end of the day, the most efficient way to ensure healthy teeth is to ensure the health of the rest of your body. Eating a balanced diet with the recommended amounts of critical macro and micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, will go a long way towards achieving that goal.
Calcium through dairy products, phosphorus through lean proteins, and the vitamins found in vegetables are critical for every aspect of a tooth’s health from the strength and resilience of its enamel to its ability to ward off infections and promote dentin regeneration.
Remember, each component of your body from your mouth to your heart and brain is intimately and inextricably connected and dependent on each other. Did you know, for example, that infections of the gum can actually directly contribute to heart failure? What this means, is that caring for your teeth is more than just routine brushing and flossing. It's part of a holistic understanding that caring for one part of the body is beneficial for the whole.
Willow Pass Dental Care: Known As The Leading Dentists in Concord, CA
Do you want healthy teeth and a bright smile? Dr. Reza Khazaie, a highly regarded and well-known Prosthodontist in Concord, CA makes the case for eating right. Sometimes eating right along with a routine dental hygiene regimen aren’t always enough to guarantee the long-term health and beauty of your teeth. That is where Willow Pass Dental Care, the leading dentists in Concord, CA can help. Contact us today at 925-326-6114 or click the button below to schedule an appointment.