Ultimately, what you eat and drink can dramatically affect your oral health. At Cosmetic Dental Associates, Dr. Spiker Davis and Dr. Matt Guerre offer their patients in Houston, TX healthy eating guidelines to help them protect their teeth. During a regular dental examination, they examine each patient’s teeth and gums and ask questions about their diet to determine if it is affecting their oral health. Every food you eat or beverage that you drink comes in contact with your teeth, so think carefully.
Every time that you eat something acidic or sugary, your teeth are under attack. This is because sugar reacts with bacteria found in plaque and produces acids. The acid erodes, which can lead to tooth sensitivity. A balanced diet helps prevent gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.
What foods and beverages can cause tooth decay?
Tooth decay damages the teeth and can lead to fillings, or in severe cases, the need for extractions. Decay occurs when sugar reacts with bacteria in plaque. This then forms an acid that attacks the teeth and destroys the natural enamel. When this occurs, it breaks down and a hole or cavity forms. The decay process accelerates fast, making regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings especially important to detect these dental problems early on before they become more advanced.
Sugary and processed foods and beverages can eat at your tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay. This makes it important for patients of all ages in Houston, TX to eat healthy so they have healthy teeth. Focus on eating a well-balanced diet with snacks that are good for you. Following these eating guidelines can help to reduce both your risk of enamel and the risk of cavities. Ultimately, sugary foods increase your risk for heart attack and obesity, so limiting them can improve your overall health, as well as your oral health.
What is erosion?
Acidic food and beverages can cause dental erosion. This is the gradual dissolving of the tooth enamel. The lower the pH of a product, the more acidic it is. Milk, orange juice, grapefruit juice, soda, red wine, and vinegar are some of the most erosive foods and beverages. Limit your consumption. During a comprehensive dental exam, Dr. Davis and Dr. Guerre can determine whether or not your diet is too acidic and affecting your oral health.
Not only do drinks such as coffee, tea, and wine erode your natural tooth enamel, but they can also stain your teeth. If you do indulge, be sure to drink plenty of water to thoroughly wash away any acids and tooth-staining properties.
Best foods for optimal oral health
An anti-inflammatory diet is directly connected to healthier gums and fewer lost teeth. Certain foods high in fat and refined sugars can lead to inflammation. Healthy fats such as avocado, fatty fish, or olive oil promote better oral health.
The healthiest snacks are alkaline foods that are low in acid. Some examples include:
• Raw vegetables
• Yogurt (low or no sugar variety)
Water and milk are always great choices. It is better for your teeth to drink fruit juice at mealtimes. If you are not drinking them with food, dilute them with water as they are erosive. Carbonated drinks can lead to decay and dissolve the enamel on the teeth, so have them sparingly, or not at all.
How often should I brush my teeth?
It’s important to brush your teeth right before bed and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste. Brushing right after eating foods or beverages with sugar or acids will brush away part of the enamel. It’s best to wait at least an hour after eating these foods before brushing.
Brushing at night is important since this is when the flow of saliva slows down and, if you don’t remove all food particles thoroughly beforehand, this can increase your risk of decay.
Learn how food and dental health are related
During regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings at Cosmetic Dental Associates, Dr. Spiker Davis and Dr. Matt Guerre can discuss your diet and offer helpful tips on food and dental health that help improve your oral health in Houston, TX. To schedule a dental examination today, call our professional team.