Flossing, brushing teeth after meals and visiting the dentist at least twice a year are not the only tooth-friendly tips that work; but when and what we eat are also crucial.
The foods we eat can either strengthen or destroy our teeth and gums.
The key is to consume foods that contain the best nutrients to fight cavities and prevent plague build up.
When a tooth is repeatedly exposed to acid, the enamel loses most of its minerals. Eating and drinking often, especially foods that contain a lot of sugar and starch causes loss of minerals and over-time can lead to tooth decay.
In its early stages, tooth decay can be remedied; as the enamel is able to repair itself using minerals from saliva and fluoride toothpaste. Left untreated or with continued sugary food choices, cavities are formed and the enamel is weakened and destroyed.
A dental cavity is a hole in the tooth that can only be repaired when a dentist puts in a filling. The other option is having the infected tooth removed.
Tooth decay and cavities are preventable if the right foods are eaten.
Try fiber-rich foods and vegetables like apples, golden apples, carrots or sugar cane that will stimulate saliva flow, creating a natural defense to cavities.
Dairy products like milk, cheese or plain yogurt provide needed calcium, phosphates and Vitamin D for healthy teeth. If you are allergic to or just don’t like the taste of milk, try calcium-fortified juices or soy milks that can supply enough of the needed calcium in your diet.
If you are a fan of chewing gum, switch to sugar-free gum after meals or snacks. It will help wash harmful acids off your teeth. Don’t opt for chewing gum that contains sugar as it may increase your chances of cavities.
Drink water that contains fluoride or juices made with fluoridated water.
Some tooth-friendly tips: limit eating between meals and snacks so that your teeth would have less acid attacks and have a chance to repair themselves. Lessen on sweets like candies, cookies, soft drinks and save sugary foods and drinks for special occasions.
Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
Parents, don’t let your child eat or drink anything that has sugar in it late at nights or after bedtime tooth brushing.
(The above was submitted by the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council)