So, you’re brushing and flossing twice a day for two minutes each time. You visit your dentist twice a year for regularly scheduled checkups and cleanings, but plaque and tartar are still a problem. Why?
You might be surprised to learn that some of the foods you’re eating may actually be contributing to your less-than-stellar dental report. Below are some of the best and worst foods and beverages for your teeth.
Let’s start with the worst ones, so you know what to cut back or avoid altogether.
Bad For Your Teeth:
- Sour Gummy Candies (Or Anything Else That’s Gooey and Sticky!)
We all know that any type of sugary, sticky candy is not good for your oral health, but sour gummy candies in particular contain acids that are very harsh on your teeth. Acidity combined with the stickiness of gummy candy is a recipe for disaster. The candies stick to the crevices between your teeth and gums for a long time after you eat them so the risk of tooth decay increases, big time.
- Citrus Fruits (Yes, Fruit!)
A glass of grapefruit juice. Lemon in your water. Fresh lime juice marinade over your favorite seafood. While citrus fruits taste delicious and have many health benefits (they’re a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants), the acid in them can erode the enamel on your teeth. If you consume a significant amount of acidic fruits and don’t rinse your mouth with water after eating them, the damage to your enamel could become permanent.
When you do eat acidic fruits like oranges and grapefruits, be sure to swish your mouth with water to rinse your teeth as soon as you’re done eating. Avoid brushing your teeth right before you eat citrus fruits or right after. It’s better to wait 30 minutes so the brushing doesn’t speed up the enamel-eroding process.
- Highly Acidic Beverages Like Soda and Coffee
Speaking of acid (are you noticing a theme here?), carbonated sodas, coffee, and caffeinated teas are bad for your teeth. Soda might just be the worst of the worst, too, since it helps plaque produce more acid to attack tooth enamel. Similarly, there are multiple studies showing that Energy Drinks strip the enamel off of teeth and directly lead to cavities, not to mention their impact on diabetes and obesity.
If you drink soda each day, you are coating your teeth in acid and enabling tooth decay. (Eat sticky candy while you’re drinking soda, and you’re bound to get a cavity!)
Coffees and teas, although they have some health benefits, can stain your teeth and dry out your mouth. You need saliva to stave off plaque and “rinse” the sugars and acid off your teeth.
We’re not saying you have to give up coffee altogether, but after your morning cup ‘a joe, drink a glass of water and swish it around your mouth to minimize the effects of the acid on your pearly whites. We do recommend that you nix the soda and energy drinks, however, and drink water instead.
- Potato Chips and Bread: Starch is an Enamel Enemy
Like soda, there’s little nutritional value in white bread or potato chips, but they do wonders for tooth decay. When you chew bread and potato chips, your saliva breaks down the starch and turns it into sugar that coats your teeth. We all know that sugar-coated teeth mean plaque and tooth decay o’plenty.
After eating starchy foods, it’s especially important to brush and floss your teeth to remove sugars that stay trapped in tiny crevices in your teeth and along your gums.
Good for your teeth:
- Celery, Carrots, and Other Crunchy Veggies
You probably guessed that vegetables were on the list of good-for-your-teeth foods because let’s face it, veggies are just plain good for you in general. Raw celery, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers are a wonderful alternative to potato chips when you want a crunchy snack.
The extra chewing you do with crunchy veggies helps produce more saliva, which keeps your teeth and gums healthy. The rough texture of celery and carrots also helps clean the surface of your teeth as you chew.
- Leafy Greens and Broccoli Pack a Healthy Punch
Full of vitamins and rich in calcium and folic acid, leafy greens like spinach and kale, plus crunchy, broccoli, are extra-healthy for your teeth and gums.
They are high in iron, which helps coat your enamel and keep your teeth whiter, and also lowers acid and harmful bacteria. Plus, raw broccoli is like a natural toothbrush that helps clean your teeth, just like celery and carrots.
- Cheers to Cheese, Yogurt, and Dairy
Just when you thought you’d have to eat nothing but crunchy veggies and leafy greens to keep your teeth healthy, say cheers to calcium-rich foods like cheeses and milk.
In addition to calcium, dairy products contain casein – a protein that helps strengthen and repair tooth enamel. Cheeses and milk products also help lower the acidity in your mouth, and we all know how bad acid is for teeth (see above if you forgot)!
- Coconut Oil (What Isn’t It Good For?)
Coconut oil is pretty amazing.
You can use it to moisturize your skin, you can cook with it — and it’s surprisingly useful for better dental health, too.
Did you know that swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes (the ancient dental process of “oil pulling”) can draw out toxins and bacteria to prevent tooth decay and cavities? It’s true! Yet another remarkable way to use coconut oil for health benefits.
We understand that the thought of swishing coconut oil around your mouth might not sound, taste, or feel appealing. So, we have an alternative: Dr. Ginger’s Coconut Toothpaste and Mouthwash.
Both contain coconut oil with a fresh, minty flavor so all you have to do to get the detoxifying benefits of coconut oil is brush your teeth and rinse with Dr. Ginger’s.
Both products are fluoride-free, too, so they’re safe for the whole family.
Eating healthier foods doesn’t just benefit your teeth.
Healthy eating helps you look and feel better from head to toe. But when you need a little extra dental hygiene help, Dr. Ginger’s coconut oil products are there.