You may think that all types of food are bad for your teeth. But that really isn’t the case. Even our teeth have their own favorites too, you know! And you might be surprised that some of them are even part of your comfort food diet. Keeping your teeth healthy has never been this easy – not to mention delicious!
But, wait. What is the deal between teeth and food anyway? How is it possible for sweet, delicious, and delectable food to become a menace to our teeth?
The short answer to both your questions is “It’s really not about food.” The thing that causes tooth decay and cavities isn’t food itself but the acid it produces as time passes. Food, alone, is not much harm (to our teeth at least). However, as time passes, tiny chunks of food that are left over the grooves and cracks of your teeth will produce acid – a notoriously strong one at that. This strong acid is actually the specific culprit behind tooth decay. Well acid and bacteria build-up, to be precise.
“If food isn’t the actual cause of tooth decay, it should be relatively safe to keep eating however way I want – right?”
Yes and no. Yes, because food doesn’t necessarily cause our teeth to go bad. And no, because eating “however” way you want may refer to eating without committing to do the appropriate follow-throughs. Mind you, the follow-throughs are very, very important.
Follow-throughs are actions or activities you need to observe and commit yourself to do right after each and every meal. Eating may not inflict direct damage to your teeth, but poor oral hygiene will. So after every meal, one must make sure to do the following:
Do I really have to do that right after each meal?
BIG YES. That is, if you want to keep your teeth longer. As previously stated, the acid produced by food stuck in-between teeth is what causes tooth decay. If you can prevent food residues from staying on your teeth’s surface for prolonged periods of time, then you can definitely keep your teeth healthy for a very, very long time. This is why many resources claim that tooth decay is almost 100% preventable. After all, all it takes is a pinch of discipline and a dash of commitment. If you can train yourself to always do the follow-throughs after every meal, your dazzling pearly whites should stay nice and pearly for the longest time.
Now, back to food.
You now know that food isn’t the culprit causing tooth decay – not directly, at least. But you should also know that some types of food further improve the state of your teeth making them stronger, brighter, and more durable. Nobody likes not having teeth. So on top of doing the follow-throughs, why not tweak your diet a little bit and make it pro-teeth?
Like in the case of bones, milk helps strengthen our teeth too. The high calcium present in pure, fresh milk can help thicken your teeth enamel. The enamel of our teeth is what keeps us protected from tooth-related problems such as cavities, sensitivity, and decay. Stronger teeth enamel makes our teeth stronger, durable, and lasting. This also means you don’t have to give up on eating your favorite milky desserts anytime soon – just tone down with the sugar though. And rinse your mouth thoroughly after every sweetscapade!
Even I wouldn’t know what to do if this precious thing weren’t in this list. I mean, who doesn’t love creamy, gooey cheese? Aside from being super high in calcium as well (Well, cheese is basically a derivative of milk), it’s also high in phosphorus which is another mineral that helps make our teeth stronger. It is also known to help reduce the pH or acidity level in your mouth which helps fight off bacteria growth and dental plaque. Almost every cheese has these merits but special mentions go to Cheddar and Monterey Jack (Aged Cheeses), Gorgonzola and Roquefort (Blue Cheeses), and Brie and Camembert (Soft Ripened Cheeses). Sorry if the list doesn’t include mozzarella, but you can still eat it though! Now, you can enjoy your favorite pizzas without having to feel guilty about it – for your teeth at least. Just be careful when the cheese is too hot or you might suffer from having a Pizza Palate!
Well, fresh, green vegetables are never absent from healthy food articles. And why would they be? If there’s any type of food that is abundant in vitamins and minerals yet low in calorie and sugar, it’s got to be leafy greens. Examples of these super foods are spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. They may not be too appetizing to the eye (especially to children) but they’re definitely worth every bite. Try to mix things up and serve these healthy greens as fun snacks. Why not make baked kale chips or spinach pasta for the whole family to enjoy?
No wonder Bugs Bunny have such bug, shiny front teeth, he’s been eating carrots this whole time! Carrots are a brilliant source of vitamin A and fiber. Aside from aiding digestion and strengthening the immune system, the fibrous texture of carrots helps stimulate the gum area and helps you produce more saliva in your mouth. Saliva has always been known to be a protective layer of teeth against bacteria. Having more of it would definitely amplify that protection. Include a few slices of carrots in your meals. It’ll go a long way!
Celery is another vegetable that is very rich in fiber. Like carrots, celery helps sweep off pesky bacteria and food particles out of your teeth’s life. This makes them great to chew after eating – that is, if you still have the appetite for a bland, watery vegetable. But hey, there’s a couple of ways to improve on the flavor – right? Try it with some cheese!