The food we eat can have a big impact on our teeth. It is obviously important to take good care of your smile by brushing and flossing but the things we eat can also affect our teeth. To keep those pearly whites bright snack on crunchy vegetables that do not get stuck in the teeth like carrots, broccoli and celery. Watermelon with its high water content helps to keep the teeth hydrated and free from debris as well. Pears are another good choice for crispness and water content. Crunchy nuts and seeds are full of protein and the crunch helps remove plaque from the teeth keeping them stain free. If you are looking for a natural tooth whitener go for strawberries. The malic acid in the berry is a natural tooth whitener. You can also try a paste of strawberries and baking on your pearly whites to brighten them.
Foods that are harmful to the teeth include dried fruits and raisins as they are very sticky after being dehydrated and promote tooth decay because they sit on the enamel. Saltine crackers are another poor choice. Remember that any sticky substance on the tooth will provide food for the bacteria that cause decay. Think of how your teeth feel after a banana, all sticky and covered with a film. That film gives fuel to the sugar bugs and if left on the tooth will allow it to start to break down. Acidic foods like pickles change the alkalinity of the mouth and promote enamel breakdown. Sugary sports drinks and sodas do the same thing. We are seeing an increase in cavities between the teeth in young adults and it is being attributed to the energy drinks which are mostly caffeine and sugar. Certainly not the best thing for your smile. Keep in mind that water is always the best choice for your smile it cleans the teeth and hydrates them to keep them healthy. If you opt for a different drink make sure you rinse with water after drinking it and don’t sip on something sugary all day. The worst thing you can do for your teeth is to constantly bath your enamel with demineralizing sugars and acids over the course of the day. This does not give the saliva a chance to do its job of cleaning the mouth and re-mineralizing the tooth structure and enamel breakdown occurs. Alcohol also reduces the saliva flow and promotes drying of the teeth and gums.
To keep your family smiling choose good snacks that not only taste good but are healthy. Fresh fruits and nuts will certainly keep that smile on their faces and not affect the teeth. I find my family prefers the healthy stuff anyway so that is what I offer. Trader Joe’s sells convenient packs of nuts that are great to throw in my bag if the kids or I get hungry. I also usually have lots of fruit poolside. Bowls of grapes and watermelon are sure to please the crowd at my house. I am even surprised when we have a BBQ and the fruit is empty but the chips are not. Everyone likes fruit. I even make a delicious fruit dip to go with cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas and strawberries. Just mix a bar of cream cheese, a jar of marshmallow fluff and 1/4 cup orange juce in the food processor and chill for an hour before serving with fruit. Enjoy the summer!