We all know that the best way to prevent cavities is to brush and floss regularly, and to visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. But did you know that eating certain foods can help prevent cavities?
Food plays a very important role in dental health. Below, we explore beneficial foods as well as not-so-beneficial foods for your dental health, and we explain how they can affect your pearly whites.
Food That Helps to Prevent Cavities
Certain foods contain essential nutrients that can help keep your teeth strong and healthy, including the following:
High-Fiber Fruits and Vegetables
Certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts contain high amounts of fiber. Fiber is important to your oral health because it keeps your saliva flowing.
Maintaining a proper amount of saliva in the mouth helps to create natural mineral defenses and lower levels of bacteria, helping to protect you from tooth decay. Some of these high-fiber foods include:
- Dried dates
- Dried figs
- Brussels sprouts
One of the most important ingredients for preventing tooth decay, especially in growing children, is calcium. There are many ways to incorporate this mineral into your diet.
Dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt, are all excellent sources of calcium. For those of us who are watching our weight, low-fat dairy foods are just as beneficial as their higher-in-fat counterparts.
Cheese can be especially beneficial for your dental health because it contains a protein called casein, which helps protect your teeth from enamel damage. Cheese also increases calcium levels in the mouth; increased saliva calcium helps prevent cavities by re-mineralizing your teeth.
Some other ways to get your calcium include almonds, beans, and leafy greens like broccoli and spinach. Notice how this list overlaps the list of fiber-rich foods above!
Whole-Grain Breads, Pastas, and Cereals
Whole grains are another important addition to your diet to help maintain strong and healthy teeth and gums. They provide iron and B vitamins, which help keep gums healthy. They also contain magnesium, which is good for your teeth and bones.
An added bonus of whole grains is that they are also high in fiber. Excellent sources of whole grains include:
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain pastas
- Whole-grain cereals
Food That Can Cause Cavities
Just as there are foods that are good for your dental health, there are foods that can hurt your teeth. Sweet foods that are high in sugar are among the worst offenders. Sugar can weaken your tooth enamel; and weakened enamel can leave you exposed to tooth decay.
No one is saying that you shouldn’t occasionally indulge in a sweet snack. However, if you do, we recommend you brush your teeth afterward to help prevent plaque buildup.
Family Dentist in Minneapolis
When you get hungry, try to focus on healthy foods that are good for your whole body, including your teeth and gums. If you do indulge in a sweet treat, then be sure to brush well afterward. And, of course, be sure to brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Your smile will thank you for it!
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry has been a leader in providing advanced dental care for healthy and beautiful smiles to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area since 1983. If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, or would like to schedule an appointment or consultation, please call our office at (651) 646-2392.
You can also request an appointment online. Dr. Steven Hagerman looks forward to discussing your dental concerns and providing you with the personalized care you deserve.