Do apples keep the doctor AND dentist away? How about dark chocolate? Does that have an effect on your teeth as well? The truth is that the foods you consume can have a definite impact on your dental health, so it pays to watch what you eat. Here’s what we mean.
Foods That Clean Your Teeth
You already know that brushing and flossing play an important role in keeping your teeth healthy, but combining those good tooth care habits with certain foods can help you achieve even greater results. Namely, foods that are high in fiber — fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and leafy greens — are a good choice. These high fiber foods even pull a kind of “double duty,” as they are also key in helping your mouth produce more saliva, which can counteract the deleterious effects of acids and enzymes that come from sugary and starchy foods.
Speaking of which, those foods high in sugar/starch content, like candy (with some exceptions), soda, and alcohol, can form a harmful acid that breaks down tooth enamel when they come into contact with plaque. It’s best to avoid these foods, and instead turn to tooth-healthy options like apples, which we’ll be taking a closer look at next.
The Wonders of Apples
Apples are referred to as “nature’s toothbrush” for a reason. While they don’t exactly remove plaque from your teeth (as is the common conception), they do help reduce the viability of salivary bacteria, in a manner similar to brushing your teeth. This, in turn, goes a long way in helping to protect your teeth and gums from decay.
Apples can have drawbacks, however, in the fact that they are an acidic food (note earlier what we mentioned acid can do to tooth enamel). Most apples have a pH ranging from 3-4, putting them in a similar league as many fruit juices and soda, which also have pH values under 4. Thankfully, though, there are a few practices you can exercise to help reduce the effects of acidic food on your teeth, which include:
- Combining acidic foods with mealtime — This reduces the amount of contact acidic foods and drinks have with your teeth, and works to neutralize their negative effects.
- Wash out acidic drinks with water — Having water with acidic foods can help to rinse them from your teeth.
- Or try some milk/cheese — Milk or cheese at the end of a meal can help cancel out the acidity of other foods.
- Use a straw — If you’re drinking something acidic, use a straw to limit the amount of contact with your teeth.
- Wait before brushing — Since acidic foods and drink can soften tooth enamel (making it more damage-prone), wait at least an hour after you’ve eaten them to brush.
Be sure to incorporate these habits into your meal routine to help nullify the damage done to your teeth, and keep that healthy smile.
Eating the right foods is a great step in the right direction, but don’t let your foods do all the work. Combining proper eating habits with regular tooth care is the best way to protect your smile, so be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our top dentists today!