Harmful Foods and Drinks:
To understand how teeth react to foods, it is important to know how things damage teeth as we eat or drink them. Minerals are dissolved away from tooth enamel by any acidity that washes over it, leaving the surface of the tooth soft and easily damaged. Certain bacteria are fed by sugars and as they grow, these bacteria produce acids. This is why sugars can be detrimental to teeth. On the other hand acids can harm teeth directly.
This means that acidic fruits have the potential to harm teeth – even if it is juiced, diluted or pureed as a drink or eaten as fresh fruit. Citrus acids are the most damaging to tooth enamel and quickly dissolve minerals from the tooth surface. Wines and beers, teas and coffee, carbonated drinks and sodas, energy or sports drinks – even diet flavors – can be a problem.
Stopping the Damage
The amount of damage to a tooth depends on the length of time the tooth is bathed in acidity. Lengthy periods of acidity dissolve the outer protective layer and leave a tooth vulnerable to cavities, sensitivity, gum recession and staining. This means that sipping a drink can “stress” teeth and cause damage. The good news is that there are foods that stop and even reverse this damage, protecting teeth from acidic dangers.
Healing Properties of Xylitol and Pineapple
Xylitol is one of the most tooth-protective foods available because it rids the mouth of acid-producing bacteria and also helps put minerals back into teeth. I am also amazed at a food I have recommended for decades. Eat some of this before and after a surgery, extraction or to help heal gum disease. The healing power of pineapple is being supported by science as a fruit to promote skin and bone healing. A single serving (3/4 cup) of fresh or frozen pineapple gives both an excellent source of vitamin C and the anti-inflammatory bromelain.
Other tooth-protective foods include dairy items like cheese and milk, nuts (especially salty ones) and fresh vegetables like cucumbers or celery. This sparks the idea of nibbling nuts or cheese when you sip wine, or having a glass of milk or yogurt at the end of a meal. Working to end a meal with a tooth-protective food can make a huge difference to the strength of your teeth. If you want to sip lemon water – have this at the start of a meal and ensure you end the meal with some almonds or a cube of cheese!
Fermented Foods, Vitamins, Minerals and Omega-3s
Today more health professionals understand the intimate connection between mouth health and body health. Gum disease can trigger an inflammation that can put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, or arthritis. Research shows that incorporating certain foods, herbs and spices may help control inflammation. These foods are rich in Omega-3s and vitamin C. This is why a balance diet is important for oral health.
Other foods good for Teeth and Gums: Strawberries, raspberries, papaya, kiwi, apples, broccoli, bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, onions and wasabi.