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The Bad, the Good and the Ugly of Oral Health

The Bad

It’s a fact – eating sugar leads to tooth decay. When plaque, a sticky bacteria laden substance interacts with sugar acids it destroys the surface of your teeth. Avoiding sugar is one way to keep teeth and gums healthy. Here are some foods that can help. Keep these foods in your diet and at your next check up your hygienist will say, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”

The Good

Apples have a fibrous texture that stimulates gums and clean teeth. Apples do contain sugar, but they also hold plenty of water to dilute the sugar. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid) in the apple skin scrubs away plaque and removes stains.

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in calcium and folic acid which builds tooth enamel, the exact opposite of what sugar does. They also contain omega-3 fats, phosphorus and protein which can help fight gum disease.

Lean proteins like pork, poultry, fish, and eggs contain large amounts of protein which help strengthen teeth and are naturally low in sugar.

Dairy Products raise the mouth’s PH levels which reduces tooth decay. They contain protein and calcium which work together to strengthen tooth enamel. Dairy also contains phosphates which help restore teeth’s minerals. Green and black teas are also beneficial to teeth.

Root vegetables like carrots and celery are high in fiber and vitamins A and C which are beneficial to your gum health and scrape food particles from teeth.

 Chewing gum (sugar free of course) – Surprisingly sugar free chewing gum can be beneficial to your oral health. Gum chewing increases saliva flow, which can neutralize mouth acids, strengthen teeth and reduce decay. Gum also helps to release food particles that may be stuck to your teeth. To date, the only chewing gums with the ADA seal are sugarless and sweetened by non-cavity-causing sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol or mannitol.

Chocolate can be eaten then quickly washed away. So when the “sweet tooth” starts yelling, pop a square. Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate.

The Ugly

 Candy, in addition to the damage sugar does, chewy candies will stick to teeth and continue to cause damage well after they are eaten. Sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids that are tougher on your teeth. Hard candies expose teeth to prolonged contact with sugar and may also cause teeth to chip when bitten into.

Citrus Fruits like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and all other citruses contain acid that will break down tooth enamel. It may be wise to rinse your mouth with water after eating any of these.

Soda causes cavities but in addition to that, many sodas contain citrus, which breaks down enamel.

Alcohol contains sugar and also dehydrates the body and decreases the flow of saliva. Saliva prevents food from sticking to your teeth and also washes away food particles.

 The Very Ugly

A word-for-word ad for a new product: Crayola’s Color Your Mouth Powder Straws. 40 straws in every color of the rainbow, and each is filled with a mouth-wateringly delicious fruity candy powder that turns your tongue different colors and paints your palate with delightful hues!

Although consuming the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones will go a long way towards excellent oral health, they alone will not get the job done. Brushing your teeth for 2-minutes twice each day and flossing are the backbone of healthy teeth. In addition to this, professional teeth cleaning is recommended at least twice a year.

To schedule a cleaning call us at (609) 641-1462.





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