Keeping your teeth in near pristine condition isn’t easy, it takes effort and the damage certain foods can cause is often underestimated. Damage occurs from two main sources; the ingestion of food high in acid, or eating sugary foods that coat the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria which produce acid.
Consider the following:
Citrus fruits and tomatoes
These foods are acidic and the acid can eat away tooth enamel to the extent that underlying dentine, which has a yellow tinge, begins to show through.
Blackberries, blueberries and pomegranate
Undoubtedly, these foods are considered by many to be highly beneficial, but that doesn’t prevent them staining teeth.
Coffee and Tea
These drinks contain tannins which are a major cause of discolouration and tanning. Coffee in particular alters the Ph. balance in the mouth which exacerbates the impact of any food taken directly after that which contains acid. The colour of stains caused by the tannin in tea depends on the type of tea. Green tea causes grey stains; whilst black tea can yellow the teeth. Remember too that many people add sugar or sweeteners to coffee and tea which increases the potential for damage.
Unsurprisingly, candy and other sweets are almost wholly made from sugar. Other foods too, like crisps can contain high levels of sugar. An anxious parent who warns their offspring that too many sweets will rot their teeth, is correct because sugar becomes attached to teeth, promoting the built up of bacteria which uses it as a food source. The bacteria produce acids which over time cause darkening and cavities. Hard sweets are also hazardous in causing teeth to break or chip, damaging dental work, such as crowns and pulling out fillings.
Fizzy pop, other sweet drinks and fruit juices
These drinks are often loaded with added sugar or sweetener. Whilst fruit juice may be good for you it contains high levels of fructose (fruit sugar). Look carefully at the sugar content of drinks and go for fruit juices with no added sugar.
Red wine contains tannins and is notorious for leading to the greying of teeth. White wine can also have a negative effect on your smile because, whilst it doesn’t stain teeth, it contains acid which causes very small holes in tooth enamel which are then exploited by damaging agents from other food. Alcohol more generally, reduces saliva flow allowing acid, sugar and bacteria to build up and cause tooth decay.
A diet that’s good for teeth
Water, particularly fluorinated water, helps battle tooth decay. Rinsing the mouth with water after eating, alternating drinks of alcohol with drinks of water and maintaining a thorough programme of dental hygiene are all great ways of caring for teeth. For tailored advice on what to eat in order to maintain white and healthy teeth visit www.birchgrovedental.co.uk and book an appointment.
High fibre foods
Apples, pears and other foods high in fibre can help keep teeth in good condition. Fibre is abrasive and crunching on an apple for example has an effect like scrubbing the teeth.
Malic acid in Strawberries is considered a natural way to brighten teeth. Some people even mix the pureed fruit with baking soda to use as a homemade whitening agent. Whilst this is effective in removing plaque it isn’t powerful enough to penetrate enamel and so the effect is short-term and cosmetic.
Dairy products and lean protein
Cheese, milk and yoghurt all contain calcium; whilst poultry, lean red meat and eggs all contain high level of protein rich in essential amino acids. Calcium and protein help restore and strengthen teeth.
So, to keep your teeth healthy and your smile white, eat plenty of those foods that promote health teeth. Whilst it is difficult to completely avoid sugary foods and foods that stain teeth do read labels, go for low sugar options and dilute potential damaging effects by drinking plenty of water.