September 7, 2016
Oral bacteria love sugar and carbs. Tooth decay results as these microbes thrive. Besides avoiding cavity-creating foods, what can you eat to protect your teeth from this common dental problem? Dr. Craig P. Vacek, Lincoln dentist, suggests several kinds of food that actually shield teeth from cavities. Combined with brushing, flossing, exams and professional cleanings, proper diet encourages strong, bright smiles.
You are What You Eat
That saying has been around a long time, and it’s so true, particularly regarding your oral health. Dr. Vacek, and his associate dentist, Dr. Gufford, wish to impact each patient’s quality of life in a significant way by preventing gum disease, tooth decay and other issues. They teach patients that their diets play a large role in how healthy their tooth enamel is.
You see, the processed sugars and carbohydrates, or starches, we consume leave residues on our teeth. Try as we might, the residues form sticky plaque which eventually hardens into rock-like tartar if not removed by at-home and in-office oral hygiene. It’s a constant battle to keep tooth surfaces, interdental spaces and gums free of this biofilm which carries a lot of harmful bacteria–Streptococcus mutans, to be exact. This microbe secretes acids which create the holes we call cavities.
What We Should Eat
Besides avoiding sugar and starches and practicing good dental hygiene, there are dietary choices which help keep teeth and gums healthy and avoid decay and gum problems. Here’s how to be proactive with your diet so your smile thrives.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Water cleanses your mouth, keeps your whole body hydrated and stimulates saliva. Saliva is a great tooth washer, and it contains beneficial enzymes which break down foods and neutralize acids.
- Up your dairy intake. Consume skim milk, low-fat yogurt and cheese for their high calcium content–great for bones and tooth enamel. Hard cheeses also help cleanse tooth surfaces and gums. The probiotics in yogurt decrease plaque, says some dental research.
- Eat five servings of fibrous fruits and vegetables daily. Both scrub your mouth so less plaque forms. Dark, leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, contain calcium, folic acid and beneficial Vitamin B. Add them to salads and sandwiches. Apples and carrots are great natural toothbrushes because of their high fiber content.
- Lean meat and fish provides protein. Protein supports your soft oral tissues, and what’s good for gums is good for supporting healthy tooth enamel.
- Nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, cashews and sesame seeds are vitamin-packed and neutralize acids in the mouth and stomach.
- Chew gum. Make it sugarless, and enjoy the enamel-sparing benefits of a key ingredient called xylitol.
Take Control of Oral Health
Learn more about tooth-friendly eating by scheduling your routine examination and cleaning with Dr. Craig Vacek. He and his team will help you pinpoint food choices for your most vibrant smile.
Contact Vacek Family Dentistry today for an appointment convenient to your busy schedule.
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