For many people, the most important aspect of looking after their teeth is seen as being maintaining a strict hygiene regime. Asking your dentist to advise you on how best to clean your teeth will mean that you use the right kind of brush, the correct toothpaste and, above all, a cleaning technique which maximises plaque removal whist ensuring you don’t damage either the enamel or the gums. Keeping your teeth clean is only part of the solution, however, and it has to be allied to regularly visiting a dentist to access dental care tips and benefits aimed at maximising the good health of your teeth.
As more and more research reveals the links between poor dental health or hygiene and a string of dangerous illnesses such as arthritis, hardened arteries, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s, so the need to look after our teeth becomes even more urgent and necessary. It’s not merely a question of looking your best, increasing your levels of confidence and being able to fully relax in a broad range of circumstances, it’s also an issue which is central to a person’s overall quality of life. That’s why the third component of good dental health is just as vital as the other two, and that’s making sure you eat and drink the right foodstuffs. Most people know that foods which are high in sugar are bad for the teeth, but what is perhaps less well known is the damaging effect which highly acidic food and drink can have. The acid in certain substances erodes the enamel of the teeth making it vulnerable to attack and to falling victim of decay. What this means is that some of the foods which are best avoided or eaten in moderation are those which might traditionally be seen as being ‘good for you’ in nutritional terms. Of course, it isn’t simply a question of avoiding items of this kind altogether, since the negative effects of acid can be mitigated by thorough cleaning although here, again, the advice of a dentist will be vitally important. Many people would assume, for example, that they should clean their teeth immediately after drinking something such as a carbonated energy drink which is high in acid and sugar. The truth, however, is that in the immediate aftermath of being coated in such a drink the enamel of your teeth will be weaker, and any brushing will merely drive the sugars deeper into the teeth where they can do more damage. The wisest course of action is to leave it at least 20 minutes before cleaning an acidic substance from your teeth, and it’s this kind of advice which makes listening to your dentist and dental hygienist absolutely invaluable.
Although the task of building a healthy, balanced diet which is also kind to the teeth is more complex than simple do’s and don’ts, it is possible to break items down into lists of those which are inherently tooth friendly and those which are not, making it that much easier to stock up on the former and try to avoid the latter.
Foods Which are Friendly to Enamel
The following foods are low in acid and thus less likely to attack the enamel of your teeth:
Bananas, melons, mangoes, milk, water, meat, poultry, soup, pasta, seafood, eggs, carrots, lettuce and cucumber.
Foods Which are Not Friendly to Enamel
The following foods contain high levels of acid and so should be approached with caution: Tomatoes, pickles, salsas, barbecue sauces, vinaigrette dressing, plums, pineapples, raspberries, apples, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, soft drinks (whether diet or normal), sports drinks and fruit juice.
Clearly, some foods which are high in acid are otherwise healthy and to be recommended, so it’s wiser not to become too obsessive over this distinction. The key is adopting the perfect balance between a mixed, healthy diet, a strict dental health regime including brushing, flossing and mouthwash, and regular consultations with your dentist. By combining all three in the right manner, you should be able to ensure the long term good health and attractive appearance of your teeth.