Your teeth are the hardest substance in your body. Even so, they’re not invincible. Plaque and bacteria can build up on the surface of your enamel, leading to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. They can crack, chip, or break. They can even become stained, dulling your smile.
Believe it or not, many of the foods you consume can affect your teeth. Some foods can harm your teeth, while others can help them. Las Vegas orthodontist Dr. Hansen outlines the best (and worst) foods for your teeth below.
Best Foods for Teeth
Here are six foods you’ll want to add to your diet.
Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
Apples, carrots, celery, and other crunchy fruits and vegetables scrub your teeth as you chew. They’re like natural toothbrushes! Chewing also stimulates saliva production, which contains natural bacterial-neutralizing enzymes.
Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are excellent sources of calcium, an essential mineral that plays a role in strong, healthy teeth. They also have folic acid, which can help reduce inflammation and protect your gums.
If stains are a concern, eat more strawberries. These juicy fruits have malic acid, a natural whitener. Just remember to floss afterward to remove seeds from between your teeth!
Green tea has polyphenols, which help to kill or stop oral bacteria. In turn, that keeps bacterial acids from attacking your teeth. In other words, it helps to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Cheese (and Other Dairy Products)
Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and milk, have calcium and phosphates, which contribute to healthy teeth. They also contain casein, which may play a role in repairing tooth enamel.
While water technically isn’t a food, it is essential for your oral health. Hydration helps promote good saliva flow, washes away food particles and bacteria, and prevents dry mouth.
Worst Foods for Teeth
Some foods may also harm your dental health. Here are a few of the worst foods for teeth.
Chewy and Hard Candies
Who doesn’t love candy? Unfortunately, many of the chewy and hard candies you might like aren’t that great for your teeth. Chewy candies can get stuck on your enamel, promoting cavities. Hard candies can do the same. Biting down on them can also crack or chip a tooth.
Alcohol dries your mouth, which can promote bacterial growth, cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Red wine, in particular, can also stain your teeth, dulling your bright smile.
While citrus has many vitamins and minerals, it’s also acidic. That acid can erode your teeth, leading to sensitivity.
There’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee to start your day. However, that morning joe can also stain your tooth enamel. Caffeine can also reduce saliva production, increasing your risk of bad breath.
There’s no denying that bread, pasta, potato chips, and other refined carbs are delicious. The problem is that they break down into simple sugars that can increase your risk of cavities.
Soda (or pop, depending on where you’re from) is high in cavity-contributing sugar. It’s also acidic, which leads to enamel erosion.
Keep Your Teeth (and Your Smile) Healthy
Your teeth are integral for so many things. Not only do you need them to bite and chew, but they also play an essential role in the quality of your smile. Consume the bad foods in moderation and enjoy plenty of the good ones. And, if you have any questions or concerns, your Las Vegas orthodontist is here to help.