You probably know that having a sweet tooth can be detrimental to your oral health and that eating lots of sugary foods may lead to cavities. However, did you know that certain foods may actually fight bacteria and prevent tooth decay? Dr. Kenneth Ingber, a cosmetic dentist in Washington, D.C., has compiled a list of the best foods to eat to prevent tooth decay. Some of his picks may surprise you!
Cheese is one of the leading cavity-fighting foods, probably because it has a protective protein called casein. Studies have shown that eating cheese increases the level of calcium in the mouth. Higher saliva calcium levels help re-harden tooth enamel and prevent cavities from cropping up.
Apples are great for two reasons: first, the fiber-rich fruits trigger the flow of saliva to wash away food particles. Also, the crunchy, crispy quality of an apple will clean plaque away from the teeth and freshen breath.
Sugar-free gum contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener that fights cavity-causing bacteria and actively prevents tooth decay. Chewing gum also increases the production of saliva to neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. If you’re going to chew gum regularly, double-check the package to ensure it’s sugar-free.
Research has found that red wine has active components called proanthocyanidins, thought to have tooth-healthy antioxidants. Enjoy your red wine in moderation, though, to avoid permanent tooth stains. If your teeth look discolored, inquire about teeth whitening treatment with Dr. Ingber.
The polyphenols and flavonoids of raisins may help fight oral bacteria that leads to cavities. The downside to raisins is that they do have stickiness and high sugar content. Solution: enjoy in moderation.
Why Certain Foods Cause Cavities
The mouth is home to a variety of bacteria, including certain bacteria that form a sticky material on the teeth called plaque. The bacteria in plaque feeds on sugary treats like cookies, candies and cakes, and produces acid, which breaks down tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Like sugary treats, starchy foods made from white flour (e.g., pasta, bread, chips) are also a threat to your teeth. The white flour can linger in the mouth and break down into tooth-decaying sugar.
For more information about how to keep your teeth healthy and beautiful, please contact Dr. Ingber’s Washington, D.C., dental practice. Call us today at 888-549-7682 or send us an email.