North River Dental Care

Eat This, Not That: The Smile Version

Dentist in Fredericksburg, VA shares tips on what to eat to keep teeth happy

We all know that brushing and flossing our teeth is the best way to keep them looking great and feeling healthy. But did you know that staying clear of certain foods and incorporating others into your diet can actually affect those pearly whites, too? We've put together a list of some of the worst foods for your teeth and healthy alternatives that are good for your teeth.

Bad: Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits have high acid contents, so while they're a great source of vitamins and other nutrients, they aren't so great for your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth, which can't be replaced. Fruit juices can also cause damage. Pickles are also high in acid thanks to the vinegar required for the pickling process, but studies have shown that snacking on a pickle every now and then won't cause noticeable damage.

Good: High-Fiber Fruits & Veggies

Foods that are high in fiber have been shown to stimulate the flow of saliva. Saliva is your mouth's first line of defense against bacteria because it neutralizes acids and helps rebuild minerals. Fruits and veggies with high water content – apples, carrots, and celery, for example – can help clean plaque from your teeth and freshen your breath, too!

Bad: Sugary Sweets

Gummy candies that stick to teeth's surfaces, or hard candies that dissolve slowly, are some of the worst for your smile. The sugars stick around, and over time, they'll cause tooth decay. Plus, chewy candies like caramels can stick to restorations like fillings and potentially pull them out, while hard candies can cause cracks in teeth if you bite down wrong.

Good: Sugarless Gum & Other Healthy Snacks

If you've got a sweet tooth that can't be satisfied by anything but candy, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum first. Not only do many of them have a sweet or minty flavor that can curb your craving, but chewing gum can also help rinse acids off your teeth after a meal. But if your craving is more about just wanting a small handful of something to eat, grab a small handful of nuts. Almonds, cashews, or walnuts make great bite-sized snacks, and they're packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for your body and your teeth!

Bad: Sodas & Sports Drinks

We're all well aware that soda is a bad choice when you're thirsty. The high sugar content leads to cavity formation, and the acids contained in the carbonation is even worse for your teeth than the sugar. Even sugar-free sodas can harm your teeth if you drink them in large amounts. Likewise, sugary sports drinks, vitamin waters, and other so-called health drinks don't do your smile any favors, either. They contain the same harmful sugars and acids as sodas. In fact, studies have shown that wear on teeth caused by some sports and energy drinks is worse than that caused by sodas!

Good: Water!

Nothing is better for your body and your smile than good old-fashioned water. If you need something a little more than a tall glass of ice water, try sipping on green or black tea, which help prevent cavities and reduce the chances of gum disease. Milk is another good alternative because the calcium and vitamin D found in dairy products are great for your teeth.

Whatever you eat or drink, remember that moderation is always best. And don't forget to brush and floss your teeth after every meal to help rid your mouth of food particles that could cause problems.

North River Bonus Tip!: Did you know that it isn't always best to brush your teeth immediately after you eat or drink?  It's true! Highly acidic foods and beverages (like fruit juices, soda, wine, vinegar based dressings, etc) can soften the outer layer of your enamel. Brushing right after an acid exposure can scrub that softened layer right off your tooth! Doing this repeatedly can add up over time and result in significant loss of tooth structure. So, if you've eaten something acidic, wait 20 minutes and then brush your teeth. This gives your saliva a chance to strengthen the surface of your tooth again – so your enamel stays on your tooth!

Regular visits to North River Dental Care for a cleaning and professional fluoride treatment will also help ensure your teeth stay in tip-top shape, so call us today to schedule your next visit!

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