At Niles Family Dentistry, we are committed to helping the environment in any way we can. We reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible, because we know that a better environment leads to healthier people. Your oral care is no different when it comes to good nutrition. Many oral problems can be avoided by following a good diet and dentist recommendations. Healthy teeth start with good nutrition and proper oral hygiene habits. There are many foods and drinks you should avoid that damage your enamel and keep your smile from being healthy. There are also foods that can make your oral health stronger. Learn more about what foods to eat, what to avoid, and how you can easily and naturally keep your teeth strong and in good shape.
How Can You Keep Your Smile in Shape?
Good oral hygiene practices are at the core of keeping the teeth and gums healthy. Naturally, practicing these habits and adjusting your diet will make a world of a difference to your oral health. Here are some suggestions:
- Brush Often – We recommend brushing at least twice a day. Brushing after every meal would actually be much more beneficial to your teeth, as it minimizes the amount of time plaque (sugar mixed with bacteria) stays on them.
- Comprehensive Exams – We will examine all the hard and soft tissues of the mouth to detect the presence of tooth decay, gum disease or oral cancer.
- Cleanings – You should receive a professional cleaning at least every 6 months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque will lead to irritated gums and tooth decay if it’s left untreated. Cleanings will ensure your teeth receive intensive plaque and tartar removal. We only use natural materials for our cleanings and use less water than most dental offices, which makes it so you help the environment when you’re helping your teeth.
- Flossing – This should be done at least as often as brushing. Flossing before you brush as well can loosen trapped food in between the teeth and make brushing more effective.
- Keep a Good Diet – The foods you eat make a great difference in the health of your mouth. A diet high in sugar will contribute to more plaque buildup and eventual tooth decay.
Why Nutrition Is Essential
What you put in your body determines how your body functions. The same goes for the health of the teeth. Foods and drinks high in sugar will mix with bad bacteria in the mouth to form plaque. Plaque will eventually erode the tooth enamel over time, causing tooth decay or gum disease. Some foods and beverages are very acidic and can also erode tooth enamel easily. Some foods to avoid include:
- Hard Candy – You don’t want to expose the teeth to sugar for long periods of time. Chewing hard candies, mints, cough drops, toffee and similar foods can chip and crack your pearly whites. Suck on hard candies only, and then brush afterwards because of the sugar.
- Chewy Candy – Sugar is not a friend to your teeth, especially if it sticks around for long periods of time like with chewy candies.
- Ice – Ice is great for chilling beverages, but not great for chewing. You don’t want a broken or chipped tooth!
- Citrus Fruits/Drinks – All foods with citric acid will be harmful to your smile. Remember that acid erodes the teeth. Lemonade, wine, vinegar orange juice and more are acidic. Most fruits are as well, but grapefruit and oranges are some of the most acidic. Make sure to wait some time before brushing after eating or drinking acidic foods, as brushing too soon can take off a layer of tooth enamel.
- Coffee – Enjoy your coffee, but make sure to brush often, as coffee can cause major stains.
- Sugar – Sugary foods in general up your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. The more sugar you feed the bacteria in your mouth, the more plaque has a chance to erode your enamel. Brush often if you eat lots of sugar, or cut back for a healthier you!
Healthy Life, Better Teeth
Avoiding foods that are acidic or sugary is a great way to make sure your smile stays healthy. This will also naturally lead you to a better lifestyle overall. Some foods are actually good for your oral health. Foods high in calcium such as cheese, milk and nutrient-dense foods (veggies, whole grains, etc.) lead to a stronger body and stronger tooth enamel. Milk and cheese are also less acidic than many foods and can help neutralize bad bacteria in the mouth. Non-processed foods and sugar-free foods are also much healthier for your body as a whole. Sugar-free options will let you enjoy your favorite treats without the damage to your teeth. Non-processed foods also contain less sugar and preservatives. However, when choosing fruits, make sure you brush your teeth a little bit afterwards as many fruits are acidic.
A Better Environment
At Niles Family Dentistry, we promote a healthy lifestyle as well as eco-friendly dentistry. We support a wellness lifestyle for a better environment and a stronger smile. We do all that we can to reduce waste and pollution in the office, save water, energy and money, and provide incentives (such as discounts) for those who bike to their appointments. Good oral health starts by what you put into your mouth as well as cleaning your teeth often. You only have one set of teeth, so take care of them! At Niles Family Dentistry, we can give you many more tips for better oral hygiene and ways to contribute to your health and environment. Call our office today at (303) 652-0400 to learn more!