Simple food choices for healthy teeth

October 9, 2015

Proper dental hygiene goes beyond brushing and flossing. Choosing the right foods can also help keep your teeth healthier.  Here's some examples.

Simple food choices for healthy teeth

Chew gum to prevent cavities.

Chewing gum used to cause cavities, but these days it can actually prevent them. Just make sure your gum contains xylitol. Not only does the gum chewing help maintain saliva flow to flush away bacteria, but studies find that it makes bacteria less likely to adhere to your teeth. You may want to avoid gum altogether, however, if you have bridges, crowns, veneers or other reconstructive dental work; the constant chewing may help loosen the materials.

Another tooth-friendly chewing gum

Next time you're in the checkout line at the grocery store, toss a few packs of spicy cinnamon chewing gum onto the counter. The spicy gum contains the tongue-twisting ingredient cinnamic aldehyde, a plant oil that keeps nasty bacteria from growing, helping reduce cavities and gum infections. Don't like cinnamon? You can get similar results with gum made from the tree bark pycnogenol (available in health food stores).

Avoid hidden sugar sources.

You choose apples over apple pie, carrots over caramels, and water over soft drinks, but what about those hidden sources of sugar? Cavity-contributing sugar lurks everywhere, including antacid tablets, cough drops, liquid medications and chewable vitamins. The sugar content of these over-the-counter preparations is particularly high in children's versions, and research shows they contribute to dental cavities. What to do? Brush your teeth after chewing a couple of antacids or sucking a throat lozenge, just as you'd do after that piece of apple pie.

Swallow, don’t chew, your vitamin C.

Swallowing vitamin C supplements could save your teeth. Chewing them significantly increases the acidity of your saliva which, combined with the high sugar content in the tablets, can really do a number on your tooth enamel.

Brew a pot of tea for oral health.

It's the second most commonly drunk beverage on the planet (second only to water), yet tea gets a bad rap when it comes to your teeth because the tannins in tea can stain. However, with all the great tooth bleaching tools out there you can have your tea and drink it too. That's a good thing, since studies find that tea drinkers have fewer dental cavities, while rinsing with green tea after brushing can reduce overall plaque and the risk of gum disease.

So avoid sugar, drink tea, don't chew your vitamin C,  and pop some chewing gum, especially the cinnamon flavour, and your teeth will thank you for it.

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