One in every five Americans has an untreated cavity. These are holes burned into a person’s teeth by acid formed by sugar and bacteria. Certain foods form cavities better because they have more sugar, or attract certain kinds of bacteria. Other foods are better to eat because they have less sugar and kill bacteria, or get rid of acid. This article will discuss both kinds of food, what they are, and how to avoid and substitute the bad ones.
A common stereotype about foods that form cavities is that only sugary snacks and candy are bad for a person’s teeth. This, as a matter of fact, is incorrect. Essential, healthy foods like bread, cereal, some fruits, starchy crackers, peanut butter, and potato chips contain starch and sugars that decay one’s teeth. The main problem, in fact, is not the amount of starch and sugar in the food, but how long it stays on a person’s teeth. Some horrible foods for your teeth are gummy fruits and gum, because they tend to stick to the tops of a person’s molars. Others are lollipops, sodas, and sugary fruit juices, because they surround a tooth in sugar for as long as a person is drinking or sucking on them. Besides cavities, there are other ways that tooth enamel can be broken down. Hard candy and foods can wear down a person’s teeth. These foods include jaw-breakers and old bread.
A surprising fact about foods good for a person’s teeth is that chocolate may actually be good for a person’s teeth because it slows or even stops the growth of harmful bacteria. Milk, cheese, or yogurt are also good for teeth because they stimulate saliva flow which breaks down food stuck on the teeth and washes them out. Saliva also neutralizes acid. Fiber-filled foods such as fruits and veggies also keep the saliva flowing, but some fruits and veggies that get stuck in a person’s teeth like mango and corn can also cause cavities. Whole grains contain iron and B-vitamins that keep gums healthy and teeth strong. Tap water also may contain fluoride which toothpaste contains to keep a person’s teeth strong. Furthermore, a person can drink unsweetened coffee or tea to wash away unwanted bacteria or acids.
There are many different foods that harm or heal your teeth. A list of them is as follows: Harmful: bread, cereal, fruit, crackers, chips, peanut butter, gummies, gum, lollipops, soda, juice, hard candy, fruit compote, muffins, granola, fried chicken, doughnuts, sugared coffee, smoothies, ice cream, sugary yogurt, milkshakes, dried fruits, alcohol, lemon, sports drinks, foods that dry out your mouth, gooey caramels, french fries, al dente pasta, crunching ice, jams, pickles, salad dressing, cider, wines, berries, sauces, ketchup, vinegar, beets, mango, corn, curry, and popsicles. Helpful: apples, pears, guava, cauliflower, cucumbers, cheese, sesame seeds, salmon, shiitake mushrooms, onions, pineapple, chocolate, milk, yogurt, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, tap water, unsweetened coffee, unsweetened tea, high fiber foods, sugarless gum, green tea, black tea, nuts, beef, eggs, fish, potatoes, spinach, fortified cereals, tofu, leafy green vegetables, beans, whole grains, and poultry.