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Food doesn’t just affect your overall health and wellbeing—what you eat can also have a severe impact on your teeth and gums. While some foods are certainly delicious and feed your body, it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you’re putting in your mouth.

Certain foods will feed the germs and natural bacteria that accumulate inside your mouth. This can cause plaque buildup—the thin film of bacteria that covers the surface of your teeth. When sugars and starches come into contact with plaque, it causes an acidic reaction that continues to attack your teeth long after you’ve finished eating. This chemical reaction can lead to tooth decay and trigger an inflammatory response causing a breakdown of your gums, bone, and teeth.

Some foods naturally lead to decay while other foods actively help to fight the buildup of plaque.

Here’s a list of the good stuff!

Fiber-Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Foods containing fiber are great for your teeth and gums! They help get saliva flowing and provide a natural defense against cavities and gum disease. Saliva helps replenish minerals to areas of your teeth that have lost them due to bacterial acids.

Cheese, Milk, Plain Yogurt, and Other Dairy Products

Cheese and other dairy products are also great saliva generators. The phosphates and calcium found in dairy products help build stronger teeth, replacing lost minerals, and rebuilding enamel.

Green and Black Teas

Anyone for a spot of tea? Both green and black teas contain polyphenols that can remove or hold back the growth of bacteria. Tea actively prevents bacteria from growing and reduces the chances of acid attacks on your teeth.

Sugarless Chewing Gum and Candy

Gum and candy are both great as long as they’re sugar free. The chewing motion that comes with gum and candy helps produce more saliva which fights bacteria.

And because life is all about balance, here’s the list of foods to avoid:

Sticky Candy

If you absolutely must eat candy, try and eat the kind that will clear your mouth quickly. Sticky candy like caramel is full of refined sugar and will stay in your mouth long after you’ve finished eating and will happily interact with plaque causing acid to impact your teeth. Chocolate isn’t necessarily a bad candy as it washes off the teeth quickly and certain types of chocolate, like dark chocolate, actually come with some health benefits.

Soft Starchy Foods

Soft breads and potato chips can get trapped between your teeth and are difficult to remove, causing ongoing plaque buildup.

Carbonated Soft Drinks

The leading source of sugar consumption among kids and teens, soft drinks also contain phosphoric and citric acids which contribute to the wearing away of tooth enamel.

Substances That Dry Out Your Mouth

There are a number of substances that will dry out your mouth. This may include alcohol, medicines, and highly salty food. Anything that causes a lack of saliva will increase the chances of tooth decay.

If you’re concerned about your dental health and would like to speak with one of our professionals, contact us to book an appointment today!

* Always consult a physician regarding allergies or sensitivities to any of the above food items.