Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA
Many people believe that as long as they floss and brush their teeth really good before bed that what they eat won’t affect their oral health. Family dentist in Erie, PA, Dr. Albert Starr wants you to know that this statement couldn’t be further from the truth! Let’s talk about oral health for a moment and look at how what you feed your family affects their oral health. It might require you to change your meal plans for the week, but it will be well worth it in the end because your family’s oral health will be protected.
How food affects oral health
It is no surprise that sugar and candy are bad for your teeth, but do you know why? Foods that are sugar-laden or high in starches leave residue on your teeth. This residue fuels harmful bacteria that are responsible for causing weakened enamel and cavities as the bacteria excrete acids (basically bacteria poop).
The more candy, chips, and crackers that you consume, the more the bacteria go to work at damaging your teeth. Furthermore, highly acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, lemonade, coffee, and sodas create the same environment that leads to cavities. While we aren’t saying you and your family shouldn’t enjoy these tasty treats occasionally, we just think you should limit your intake and not make it a daily habit.
Here’s how you can protect your family’s oral health
While never eating these sugary and acidic foods may sound like the best choice, it isn’t realistic. It’s better to consume them responsibly by using these tips.
- Limit intake of sugary, acidic foods and beverages. Every once in a while or for special occasions isn’t going to hurt.
- Know which foods are harmful if they are allowed to linger on your teeth.
- Eat foods that promote good oral health by removing the sugar and acidic film from your teeth.
Foods to limit
Try to limit your family’s consumption of the following foods:
- Dried fruit (and chewy fruit snacks, even all natural)
- Sodas or other sugar-laden beverages
- Wine and beer
- Refined white flours: pasta, white bread, crackers
- Potato chips and veggie chips, crunchy snacks
- Ice cream, milkshakes, and popsicles
Foods that promote good oral health
While eliminating the above list of food probably isn’t feasible for everyone, you can limit your intake, and be sure to encourage foods that promote good oral health, which include:
- Crunchy raw veggies: celery, carrots, turnips, cucumber
- Crunchy fruits: apples, pears
- Leafy greens: spinach, kale, collard greens
- Broccoli, cauliflower, crunchy salads
- Plain water, consumed after “bad” foods to rinse the mouth
- Sugarless gum
It is a good idea to follow any “bad” food with crunchy, raw fruits or veggies that help clean the food residue off your teeth. Also, a good rinse using water is better than nothing! Between meals, chew on sugarless gum that contains Xylitol for added protection against cavities.
Dentist in Erie
We hope that families will adapt to these suggestions in efforts of protecting their family’s oral health. Also, remember that everyone needs oral care and twice-yearly dental visits. To learn more about protecting your family’s oral health or to schedule an appointment, please contact Laser Dentistry of Erie by calling (814) 825-2615. We welcome patients of Erie, Harborcreek, and Millcreek.