Best Foods for Your Teeth
Family dinners with our Uncle Harold taught us two important things…never, ever, ever ask Uncle Harold about his teeth (he takes them out and shows them to us) and to always take care of ours!
Yes, your teeth need your total care. They need to last a lifetime, so daily brushing and flossing is essential! Not to mention that what you eat can have a very significant effect on your teeth.
We chatted with Beverly Hills-based cosmetic and restorative dentist Dr. Arthur Glosman about the best and worst foods for your teeth:
Best: Apples. Yes, an apple a day does keep the doctor away. Fresh, fiber-rich apples (not apple juice) are not only nutritious, but they are also great for dental health and beauty. A hard, crunchy apple acts as a car wash for the teeth, scrubbing away bad bacteria, sugars, and stains. And because of its high water content, it stimulates the flow of saliva, which acts as a great “rinse” after the wash. Always try to eat fruits in their whole form as opposed to fruit juices which typically have added sugars — and sometimes very little natural juice. These added sugars — read the ingredient list and watch for any words ending in “-ose” (such as fructose and sucrose) — cause tooth decay, provide unnecessary calories, and offer virtually no nutritional value whatsoever.
Worst: Gummi Bears, caramels, and other sticky, gooey candy. They are full of sugar, which causes tooth decay. And the fact that they stick to teeth and are hard to remove makes them more dangerous.
Worst: Dried fruit. Don’t be fooled here. Dried fruit, like many fruit drinks, are loaded with sugar. And the fact that they are processed in a way that dries them out only adds to the problem by giving them a sticky consistency, making them more likely to adhere to teeth. Not much different from a Gummi Bear, but actually worse, as the fruit is packed with non-soluble cellulose fiber which can trap sugars in and around the tooth. For a snack, nuts are a much better choice.
Best: Sugarless chewing gum. This is another great way to stimulate saliva flow to wash the mouth, with the added benefits of getting food out of hard to reach spaces and gaps between teeth while giving you fresh breath.
Best: Water. Yes the wet stuff is great, especially if it is fluoridated to help fight tooth decay. Water should be everyone’s beverage of choice. Water flushes the mouth, helping to get rid of food particles and bad bacteria that harm teeth and gums…and leave you with bad breath! And besides helping your body to perform all kinds of vital functions — even at the cellular level — making water your main beverage of choice is easy on the wallet. After eating, take a quick second to give your mouth a swish of water. Your mouth and kissing partner will thank you.
Worst: Soda/Pop! Most soft drinks, besides being full of sugar and other chemicals, are made up of acids that erode the tooth enamel, not only making the tooth more vulnerable to decay, but also leading to stained teeth. This goes for diet soft drinks, too. Reach for the water instead.
xx, The FabFitFun Team