Feed Your…Teeth

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I’m sure most of us (myself included) don’t really stop mid-bite to ponder the effects of different foods on our teeth.  And while it doesn’t need to be at the forefront of our thoughts, we should still think about them chompers from time to time.

I don’t know about you, but I would rather not spend countless hours, dollars, and shrieks of pain getting dental surgery because I didn’t take care of my teeth early on… and refused to give up my daily coffee/candy bar breakfast routine.

Read on for the food rules of healthy teeth.

Drink tea: A study from the University of Illinois found that drinking tea without added sweeteners can significantly reduce the incidence of dental cavities.  Scientists propose that this is due to the polyphenol content of the tea, but the evidence is inconclusive.  Reduce the amount of cavities in your mouth by drinking at least a cup of tea each day, preferably after meals.  Remember that tea has plenty of other health benefits other than for your teeth, so drink up!

Avoid sugary foods: This one’s a no-brainer, but I thought it was worthy to include regardless.  Study after study has found an association between high sugar intake and high levels of dental problems.  Remember that other carbohydrates such as bread and cereals can also contribute to cavities if consumed in high amounts, so aim for balance in your intake of carbs, protein, and fats. If you are going to eat sugary foods, you can improve your dental health by brushing your teeth immediately after food consumption.

Chew sugar-free gum: Gum containing xylitol has been shown to reduce the incidence of dental caries by stimulating saliva production in your mouth, which can decrease plaque build-up.  Just be sure the gum you’re chewing doesn’t contain sorbitol, as it has less beneficial anti-cavity effects than xylitol.  Pop in a stick after snacks and meals to fight plaque buildup and thus, harmful dental cavities.

Avoid over-consumption of dark foods:  These can include coffee, red wine, and dark sodas.  Tobacco also has a similar effect, so stop smoking if you want those pearly whites (and lungs…)

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