Most people can name some foods that are bad for their teeth (candy, sugary drinks) and a few that are good for their teeth (milk, fresh vegetables). Did you know that it's not just the food that you eat that impact your dental health, but also how you eat them? Here's a look at a few common foods, and how the manner in which you munch them may mean the difference between cavities and a clean bill of dental health.
Yes, these fruits are full of vitamin C which is helpful for boosting your immune system and even preventing gum disease. However, they're also high in acid, which can wear away your tooth enamel. The key to eating citrus without harming your teeth is to eat it quickly, and not suck on it. Drink citrus juice with a straw, so it does not spend as much time in contact with your teeth, and drink a glass of water after eating citrus or drinking citrus juice, as this will rinse away the acids.
Carbonated Soft Drinks
Even diet soda is not good for your teeth, since it contains phosphorus which may erode your tooth enamel. Dark-colored soft drinks may also stain your teeth. Avoid these beverages, and opt for water instead. If giving up your soda habit sounds impossible, at least drink your beverages through straws so they don't bathe your teeth.
Breads and Crackers
Your body needs carbohydrates to function, and many breads and crackers are made with whole grains that are high in fiber. However, your saliva contains enzymes to break the starches in these foods down into sugars. When you chew breads or crackers, they get sticky and create a film on your teeth, which is a recipe for tooth decay. To avoid this problem, eat something crunchy, like an apple or carrot sticks, after eating your bread or crackers. The crunchy food will help scrape away the sticky carbohydrate residue.
Fluoride is an element that helps build healthy enamel. It's found in most tap water, and many bottled waters. This is one beverage you don't want to drink with a straw. In fact, you want it to come into contact with your teeth so that they can absorb the fluoride. Make sure you sip your water from a bottle or glass, and every once in a while, swish a mouthful around so it reaches all of your teeth.
Eating a diet rich in low-fat dairy and fresh fruits and veggies is good for your dental health. However, you should also pay attention to the way you eat foods. Follow the tips above, and you'll be well on your way to a cavity-free life.