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Good and Bad Food for Your Teeth

Keep your teeth healthy and strong with these helpful diet tips!
8-5a Healthy Teeth
There should be plenty of healthy food options in your fridge that benefit your teeth.

Whether crunching into a fresh piece of celery or biting into a juicy burger, teeth are an essential part of daily life. Since eating takes up such a large portion of our lives, it’s important to keep our teeth healthy and strong. While there are artificial replacement options, staying aware of how different foods affect your teeth and taking action to protect your teeth and gums will help prevent deterioration and damage.

What Keeps Teeth Healthy?

The outermost layer of a tooth is the enamel. This layer is made up of calcium-phosphate, a mineral known for its solid strength. Enamel helps protect the softer tissues of teeth from harmful bacteria and the constant wear and tear of eating.

In every human mouth, there are a variety of acid-producing bacteria. When these receive nutrients, especially in the form of sugars, these microscopic organisms produce enough acid to change the acidity level of the mouth. This can erode the enamel layer and even damage the inner layers of teeth.

Harmful Foods

Foods that are bad for your teeth are typically those that erode the enamel layer and feed the bacteria living in your mouth. Processed and refined carbs and sugars, such as potato chips, sugary drinks and candy, can be especially dangerous.

The types of sugar in such foods provide the perfect environment for microscopic acid-producing bacteria. Depending on the food, the sugars can remain in the mouth for hours after they’re eaten, increasing their negative effect.

8-5B Healthy Teeth
Adding the right fruits and vegetables into your meals can help your teeth stay strong and healthy.

Acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits, as well as crunchy or hard foods can also be damaging. Sodas can be doubly harmful, as they are often acidic and filled with sugar. Rather than simply feeding bacteria, these foods have an immediate degrading effect on tooth enamel and should be eaten with care.

Helpful Foods

Foods rich in either calcium or phosphorus, the main components of tooth enamel, can be beneficial to your teeth. These include dairy products such as cheese or milk, leafy greens and protein rich foods such as meat, fish and eggs.

Fruits and vegetables, while sometimes containing high levels of natural sugars, are also beneficial. They typically contain a higher concentration of fibre and water, helping to balance the effects of the sugar. These foods also encourage saliva production, which helps clean the mouth out after eating and reduces the amount of residual food left behind.

With teeth being essential to regular eating and speech, it’s important to keep them strong and healthy. Understanding the various layers of your teeth and what is needed for them to remain healthy can be a step towards this goal. Becoming aware of a diet that will benefit tooth health and taking consistent action on such a diet can help anyone keep their teeth clean, strong and healthy.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Airdrie Denture Centre for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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