Dental hygiene: how to eat foods to help keep your teeth radiant

Sticky and starchy foods tend to leave residue in your mouth and damage your teeth.

Photo: Tim Samuel / Pexels

The choice of your food and how you enjoy it has an important effect on the health of your teeth and gums. The oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing is not enough to keep your teeth healthy in the long term.

Your teeth and gums also need nutrients. The first nutrient that you can associate with strong teeth is calcium, but you also require other minerals and vitamins for oral health. For example, gum bleeding may be due to a vitamin C deficiency.

A varied diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, cereals and dairy products provides essential nutrients for optimal oral health.

The best foods for your teeth make your teeth stronger, help them stay clean, and remove plaque that causes bacteria. These foods include yogurt, fish, apples, nuts, and water, especially if it is fluoridated.

Among the worst foods and drinks for your teeth are those that are loaded with sugar. The American Dental Association (ADA) explains that plaque bacteria use sugar to produce acids that damage tooth enamel.

How to eat to take care of your teeth

If you eat sugary or acidic snacks, make sure this happens during meals to minimize the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acid that damages your teeth.

Your mouth makes more saliva to digest large meals, which helps neutralize acids.

Drink lots of water during and after meals to help eliminate the sugars and acids that remain in your mouth.

Try to eat acid neutralizing foods like milk, unsweetened tea, or cheese after a sweet meal or dessert.

To avoid staining your teeth when consuming coffee and tea, also drink water.

Eating raw food at the end of meals helps protect your teeth. These foods help clean teeth and massage gums, according to the University of Illinois Chicago School of Dentistry.

Avoid chewing hard substances like ice, this can damage your teeth.

Brush your teeth, rinse with water, and floss when eating sticky and starchy foods. Sticky foods like dried fruit and starchy foods like French fries tend to stay in your mouth longer and get caught on your teeth, they can promote plaque buildup.

If you consume soft drinks, drink them along with a cup of water to prevent sugar from staying in your mouth and acids from damaging your teeth.

If you chew chili, choose sugar-free options and look for the ADA seal of approval.

Raw vegetables like celery and carrots are a healthy snack option that will help clean your teeth.

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