Sometimes you just don’t have time to brush and floss your teeth. You can still fight plaque and make your mouth feel fresh by eating particular foods. Whether you’re traveling, dining with friends or working late, ditch sweet and starchy foods and drinks for these healthier options.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like carrots, apples and celery, are mildly abrasive. They massage the gums and help remove stuck-on food particles on and between teeth. Crisp foods require extra chewing that produces saliva, which helps neutralize bacteria that contribute to tooth decay.
Mineral-rich foods that contain calcium and phosphorus can help keep tooth enamel healthy and strong. Milk and dairy products, fish, like canned salmon and sardines; and dark green, leafy vegetables, are great sources. Acidic foods may cause tiny lesions on tooth enamel. Calcium and phosphorus help redeposit minerals back into these lesions.
Cheese, while mineral-rich like dairy products, also fights plaque and balances your mouth’s acidity level. It produces saliva, which kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Raisins contain fruit sugar, but this is offset by its phytochemicals, which fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Compounds in raisins also affect the growth of bacteria associated with gum disease.
Sugarless gum containing xylitol helps to prevent plaque and helps your mouth produce saliva. Chewing sugarfree gum also helps keep your breath fresh.
Water is the best way to stimulate saliva, which fights bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay. If you can’t brush after eating, rinse your mouth with water to help prevent bacteria buildup. Use it as a chaser for acidic sodas, fruit juices and sports drinks.
Black and green tea contains polyphenols, which slow down the growth of bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease. Polyphenols help deter bacteria in your mouth from turning sugar into plaque. Tea also fights the bacteria that cause bad breath.
These foods are a much better alternative to those loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. Tooth-harming bacteria feed on sweets and starches and can erode your tooth enamel. Of course, it is important to have a balanced diet for your overall health, as well.
While the foods we have highlighted can help to combat plaque buildup and tooth decay, no food can take the place of daily brushing and flossing. It is vital to keep up your daily oral hygiene regimen and visit us for checkups. Call our Louisville KY endodontist and make your appointment.