We know that celebrating with friends and family can sometimes come in tandem delicious food, which may or may not be good for your teeth and gums. When you drink and munch starchy or sugary foods, you’re not only feeding yourself, but feeding plaque that can cause enamel erosion, cavities, or gum disease.
Plaque is a thin film of sticky bacteria that covers the surfaces of your teeth. When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. When you continue to eat, it could break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, resulting in tooth decay.
Did you know, 20 minutes after you eat something containing sugars or starches, your saliva begins to neutralize acids and enzymes, slowly decaying teeth? When you’re pursuing the food at your outdoor barbecue, be on the lookout for these teeth-friendly foods and snacks:
–Fruits and vegetables: at most holiday gatherings, you will find a fruit and veggie tray. According to the American Dental Association, if they are fiber-rich, these fruits and vegetables have a detergent effect in your mouth and can help your mouth produce more saliva, which is your best natural defense against cavities and gum disease.
–Foods with Fluoride: if you have an option, find fluoridated water or powdered juices (as long as they don’t contain a lot of sugar). Fluoride helps protect your enamel from erosion.
–Dairy Products: The calcium and phosphates in cheese and milk help put minerals back in your teeth you might have lost due to erosion.
–Green and Black Teas: Both of these natural beverages contain polyphenols that interact with plaque bacteria to help prevent bacteria from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. Tip: Also use fluoride water to make your tea, and you’ve got a dynamic plaque fighting duo!
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, staying away from sweet, sugary and starchy foods may be challenging, especially when you’re surrounded by goodies! Here’s a few to try to avoid, or at least eat in moderation:
–Candies and Sweets: Try to avoid candies that linger in your mouth, coating your teeth in sugar. These include lollipops, caramels, and cough drops that contained refined sugar. If you must eat sweets (which everyone deserves once and a while!) go with the treat that clears out of your mouth quickly.
-Carbonated Beverages: As with all foods, drinking soda in moderation has little to no effect on your teeth. By avoiding drinking soda, you avoid the sugar in soda combines with bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which attacks your teeth. Even diet or “sugar-free” soda contains acid that can damage tooth enamel.
–Starchy Foods: Soft breads and chips can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth, leaving it for bacteria feed on leftover food particles in the mouth. This produces acid, which causes tooth decay that can lead to cavities.
Daily Dental Care Tips
–Sugar-free gum: try chewing on sugarless gum after to rinse food particles from mouth after a meal
–Drink more water: just for general health reasons, it’s always a good idea to drink more water! But drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay
–Take Care: we know with all of the festivities it can be hard to keep up with, but don’t forget to brush your teeth twice per day, and floss once per day. Also, make sure you get a dental cleaning every six months! Call us to schedule your appointment today, at 239.936.2597