It should come as no surprise that the foods you eat have a direct impact on your dental health, but do you know why that is? If you understand what plaque is, how it thrives, and the damage it can cause for your teeth, you’re probably somewhat aware of which foods better or worse for your dental health. If you’re less familiar with plaque and the foods that can contribute to it, this blog should clear things up and give you a solid understanding of the best and worst foods for your dental health.
What is Plaque, and How Does It Cause Tooth Decay?
Plaque is a thin and sticky film of bacteria that coat the outside of our teeth. When we eat sugary or starchy foods, we are essentially feeding the bacteria, creating more and thicker plaque buildup. In combination with that, when these sugars and starches react with the plaque inside our mouths, acid forms as well, which erodes the enamel of our teeth over time.
Foods Your Teeth Will Hate
Foods you’ll want to avoid are high in sugars and starches, which in addition to causing immediate enamel erosion can stick to and between teeth for long periods of time, leading to prolonged exposure to damage-causing plaque.
The foods to avoid are:
- Sugary Candies and Sweets – The types of candy that stick to and between your teeth and seemingly take hours to clear out of the mouth are the worst snacks for your teeth.
- Starchy Foods like Bread and Potato Chips – These complex carbohydrates break get broken down into sugars by our saliva. Because soft breads and other starchy foods easily stick between teeth, they can cause significant tooth decay over time.
- Sugary Soft Drinks – Not only are these drinks loaded with added sugars which can lead to diabetes and other health risks, many sodas also have phosphoric and citric acid, which wear away tooth enamel.
Foods Your Teeth Will Love
Foods that are good for your teeth are ones that either fight plaque buildup or generate saliva, which counteracts the effects of sugars and acids on enamel.
Foods like these are:
- Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables – Apples are an especially good food choice for your teeth. The fiber-rich flesh helps to scrub the plaque from the surface of our teeth while generating saliva to neutralize any acids.
- Cheese, Milk, and Other Dairy – These foods cause us to produce saliva and are rich in calcium and phosphates, which help to strengthen enamel.
- Green Tea and Black Tea – Certain teas contain polyphenols, which can minimize and even eliminate bacteria in plaque. Drinking these teas can help to limit the effects of sugary and starchy foods.
Remember, the foods you eat have a significant impact on whether or not you develop cavities. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day, as well as any time you notice sugary or starchy foods like candy or bread between your teeth.
While we gladly provide emergency dentistry for residents of Bala Cynwyd, PA, and the surrounding areas, we’d like to prevent these situations from arising when we can. If you notice a cavity start to form, or if you have dental anxiety and want a dentist in Philadelphia that can help, call Wynnewood Dental Arts for an appointment today.