How to Create a Grocery List for Healthy Teeth
It is stressful to go the grocery store with crunchy corn nuts, sweet sodas and sugary candies practically jumping off the shelves and into our carts. And it’s not just our waistlines that we should be worried about. Many foods have a negative effect on our teeth, causing unwanted staining or, even worse, cavities. But, do not fear! There’s plenty of good food you can pick up at the grocery store to keep your teeth looking and feeling good.
Foods You Should Buy for Healthy Teeth
- Crunchy Fruits. A common misconception is that crunchy foods are bad for your teeth, but this is not the case with fruit, especially when it comes to apples and pears. These healthy treats contain a lot of water, which, when chewed, dilutes the appearance of acid residue and increases the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva keeps your teeth strong and fights off infections in your mouth.
- Cheeses. You know that film that you feel after eating a bunch of cheese? Well, it can actually help you by forming a barrier between your teeth and other acid-based foods. Cheese is also high in calcium, which helps build strong, healthy teeth.
- Milk. It is popular first aid to put a knocked-out tooth in a glass of milk to save it before you can see the dentist, but did you know the healthy dairy beverage is good for the teeth in your mouth too? Milk is also full of calcium and has been known to have the similar protective benefits of cheese.
- Chicken and Nuts. Both of these foods provide your body (and mouth) with calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth, which means they are bringing minerals depleted by acidic foods, such as lemons, back to your choppers.
- Broccoli. Surprise, surprise – broccoli is good for you! A 2010 lab-based study in The European Journal of Dentistry deduced that eating broccoli before drinking soda can prevent a lot of damage. It is believed that the iron in the green tree -like vegetable helps to form a barrier between your teeth and the acid from the soda.
- Sugar-Free Gum. Chewing gum (always sugar free) is a great way to dislodge food particles stuck in between your teeth. However, make sure that the gum you chew uses the sugar substitute xylitol, as other sweeteners can be turned into acid when they hit your mouth.
When you’re browsing the grocery aisles for the teeth-healthy foods listed above, you may run into some of the following mouth offenders. While it’s okay to eat these treats in moderation every once in a while, don’t forget to brush and floss afterwards to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.
Foods that Can Hurt Healthy Teeth
- Candy. It may go without saying that dentists hate Halloween, and that’s because candy is especially harmful to your smile and can result in tooth decay. Steve Weinstein, DDS, of Philadelphia, PA, says, “Sugary foods that are sticky, like candies, are the worst because it keeps those sugars against the teeth for longer periods of time than other foods.”
- Soda and sweetened teas. Interestingly enough, it’s not just the sugar-filled options of these two drinks that will hurt your teeth, but diet alternatives as well. The level of acid (and sometimes sugar) in these drinks is very high, leaving them to do a number on your teeth, in multiple ways. Soda can stain your teeth as well as degrade the enamel. Think about your incisors before you head to the vending machines.
- Cakes, cookies and pies. These sweet and starchy foods will stick to your teeth and provide a bed for bacteria to grow. While they are tasty, these baked goods will do a number on your waistline and your mouth, which is reason enough to leave them behind.
- Citrus. Lemons, grapefruits, oranges and their respective juices can be rough on your choppers. The citric acid levels in these fruits erode your enamel and make it easy for cavities to begin. Not to worry, though, you don’t have to completely eradicate these options from your diet, but regularly sucking on lemons or drinking fruit juice will lead to damage.
- Dried Fruits. The word fruit makes you think that these snacks are good for you, but these dried-out versions of their healthier siblings are not all that they are cracked up to be. A major reason for this is that a lot of the store-bought versions of dried fruits include added sugar and trans fats that are definitely not in the original, and even without the added sugar, the chewy, sticky quality of the snack make it harder on your teeth.
- Tomatoes. Most people know that lemons are acidic but do not recognize that tomatoes have a lot of the same qualities, which makes them equally as bad for your teeth. While tomatoes won’t ruin your teeth if you eat them every once in a while, the high-acidity level of the tasty red fruit makes them a better option for a mixed salad than on their own.