Dental Health & Your Diet: Top 7 Foods That Can Help or Harm Your Teeth

Just because some foods are nutritious doesn’t mean that they are beneficial to your dental health.

Recently, San Antonio cosmetic dentist Dr. John Moore compiled a list of the top seven foods that either promote or diminish oral health.

At the top of the best foods list were high-fiber fruits and vegetables. Moore explained that these items help scrub away debris from other foods that have been left on an individual‘s teeth. Since crunchy produce requires more chewing, it also helps promote saliva flow that washes away cavity-causing food particles.

Dairy products that do not contain added sugar may help boost oral health by providing calcium and minerals that replenish tooth enamel, Moore said.

Although many dentists warn their patients against drinking coffee and tea because they may stain your teeth, Moore explained that green and black teas contain compounds called polyphenols, which interfere with the formation of plaque and cavities. He said that polyphenols inhibit the growth of bacteria and also help prevent them from producing acid.

Other foods that Moore recommended for improving dental health included nuts and products that contain the sugar substitute xylitol.

If your teeth start to appear stained due to consuming dark-colored foods and beverages, the American Dental Association (www.ADA.org) has a list of suggested whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses that are labeled with the Seal of Approval, which makes them easy to spot.

Moore, as well as many dietitians, recommended that people avoid carbonated beverages, such as sodas. Even diet versions of these drinks can erode teeth with their artificial sweeteners, which feed cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.

While dried fruits may seem like a healthy snack option, the dentist said that these highly concentrated, sticky items may cling to teeth in the same way that chewy candies do. He also noted that dried prunes and raisins contain non-soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars within the mouth. Raisins are commonly known as “nature’s candy.”

What foods do you chew on or stay away from to boost your dental health? Let us know in the comments below.

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