The 3 best and worst things you can eat for your teeth

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Your mouth is one of the most hostile environments in the world. Imagine if you lived in a world which was constantly wet and subject to highly acidic rain! Our teeth have to endure this all the time, every time you put something in your mouth.

Our teeth are also under constant force and load from chewing and our daily and nightly habits. Depending on our diets our teeth are put through heavy stress when we chew on hard foods. At night time many people also grind or clench their teeth together. This puts a huge amount of stress on teeth and can cause cracks and chipping.

We can help our teeth to remain strong by controlling what we put in our mouths.

The Best

#1. Fresh or cooked vegetables
Veggies provide nutrition for our bodies and are low in sugar. They are also very fibrous. When we chew on food like celery, cauliflower or broccoli it naturally cleans our teeth just by the mechanical action of eating. If this sounds a little boring, you can add a nice dip such as hummus. Leafy greens are also excellent.

# 2 Nuts
Nuts are an excellent source of nutrition and they are low in sugar. Take care if you have fillings or existing cracks in your teeth as they are quite hard to chew on. Alternatively, choose a softer nut such as a raw cashew over an almond.

# 3 Water
Fruit juices, wine, fizzy drinks and sports drinks are extremely acidic. Your enamel will be under attack from these acids for the duration of your drink and for an extended time afterwards. The current trend for drinking water with lemon is also not teeth-friendly, especially if you sip on the drink throughout the day. Choose water as your primary drink and limit other drinks.

The Worst

# 1 Sugar
Sugary foods including candy and gummy lollies are terrible for teeth. They are high in sugar and the sticky types tend to adhere to the grooves in our teeth. In fact, sugar is bad for our teeth because it is broken down by the bacteria in our plaque to form acid which then demineralizes the enamel in our teeth.

Hard candies like mentos or boiled sweets are also high risk treats. They can easily crack teeth, a common cause of broken teeth in my surgery!

# 2 Dried fruit
Dried fruit is dangerous because it has a sticky texture as well as a more concentrated sugar load. They stick to the teeth and are full of natural sugars.

# 3 Acidic drinks, particularly sports drinks
Just like soda, sports drinks contain a lot of sugar.  They are also highly acidic, with some studies finding them more acidic than soda.  Acid erodes tooth enamel. The sugar, combined with the fact that sports drinks are often drunk slowly over an extended period, make sport drinks particularly damaging to your teeth.

Try to limit snacking and eat more at your main meals. I strongly advise brushing your teeth in the middle of the day as well. We often brush our teeth very early in the morning and very late at night, think about how many things you consume which our teeth have to endure. Make smart decisions and help your teeth out!

If you would like to make an appointment to see Dr Francine Chia, BDS (Adelaide), please call: +65 6834 0877