Healthy Food For Your Teeth

If you want to maintain strong teeth for your lifetime, you need to ensure you are eating enough whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables and lean meats.

Some other healthy snack choices include:
• nuts and seeds • peanut butter • cheese • plain yogurt • popcorn

Acid Erosion
There are some drinks and snacks that are bad for your teeth and may contribute to acid erosion. Acid erosion happens when food or drink with a low PH level (more acidic) are consumed. That acid can linger in your mouth, taking the minerals away and softening the surface of your teeth. This makes your teeth more susceptible to damage and often leads to increased sensitivity and may require treatment. The big offenders seem to be soft drinks, orange juice and lemonade.

Nutrition Tips
Try to avoid acidic food and drink between meals; there isn't as much saliva in your mouth at these times to protect your teeth. Don't clean your teeth right after eating. If you brush while the acid is still in your mouth you are removing some of your teeth's surface. If you wait about an hour the saliva will help your teeth battle the acid so it is safe to brush. Try to finish your breakfast, lunch or dinner with a little cheese or milk as these products help cut down on the acid in your mouth.

A Note About Sweets
When it comes to your teeth, it's not about the amount of sweets you eat, but the length of time that you leave your teeth exposed to sweets. So it's better to eat sweets at mealtimes rather than between meals, as the amount of saliva produced at mealtimes will help protect your teeth.

If you cannot avoid sweets between meals, choose something with less sugar like those listed above. Sticky sweets like toffee or hard candy should be avoided as snacks.

Food and your Teeth
Just like our bodies, our teeth and gums need many essential vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy. In fact, to ensure proper tooth development and strength, babies, children, adults and seniors need lots of:

  • calcium (e.g. yogurt, milk, some cheese, milk shakes, eggnog)
  • phosphorous (e.g. egg, beef, chicken, turkey, halibut, bread)
  • vitamin A (e.g. liver, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, mango, spinach, broccoli)
  • vitamin C (e.g. citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage)
  • vitamin D (e.g. trout, mackerel, salmon, tuna, egg yolk, milk)
  • fluoride

Here's why...

Calcium (with help from phosphorous and Vitamin D) is the main component of teeth and bones. It's what keeps them strong. But we can't forget about vitamin A because it's necessary for the formation of tooth enamel or vitamin C which is essential for healthy gums.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. In children, it works with calcium and phosphorous to help strengthen enamel, and in older adults, it helps restore and harden enamel. We are lucky in Canada that almost 80 percent of us have fluoridated drinking water.

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