24 Check for hidden sugars in what you eat and drink
It can be surprising how much sugar is added to packaged foods and drinks. Even products that boast claims of being healthy or natural can contain a lot of sugar. Frequent sugar consumption is a driving factor behind tooth decay. Common hidden sugars are: sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, lactose, glucose, and honey. Pasta sauces, granola bars, yogurts, instant oatmeal, salad dressing, breakfast cereals, energy drinks, and many packaged foods are known to have hidden sugars in them.
You can find out how much sugar is in a packaged food or drink by looking at the ingredients list and nutrition information panel on the packet. When reading the nutrition information, look for 15grams of sugar or less per 100grams of the food. You can read more about finding out how much sugar is in food and drinks in our post Avoiding Hidden Sugar.
Diabetes and gum disease are linked, with poorly controlled diabetes leading to problems with bleeding gums and loss of bone that supports the teeth. It’s estimated that about 7.4 million people in the united states alone have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, so if you’re reading this and thinking “that’s not me”, it might be time to think again.
People with poorly controlled diabetes are at greater risk for dental problems. They’re more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold their teeth in place because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums. High blood sugar may also cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. This chronic, inflammatory disease can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth and even your bones.
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating or drinking can help protect your teeth and gums, especially after eating sugary foods. This can help reduce the effect of acids from food on your teeth “A stick a day may keep the dentist away” Sugarless gum with xylitol may be good for your teeth. Experts say xylitol works against cavity-causing bacteria, helping to prevent tooth decay.
However, be aware that chewing gum over along amount of time can have a negative impact. the bad bacteria in your mouth digest sugar before it gets to your stomach, and you chew gum over a prolonged period of time, so those windows of time increase the amount of plaque buildup on your teeth and cause tooth decay to occur over time.
Specifically, get more Vitamin D – which you can get from supplements or exposure to the sun. Both Vitamin D and calcium help keep teeth and gums strong. Sunshine and vitamin D are needed for a healthy mouth, teeth, and gums. Sensible exposure to the sun can greatly improve our oral health prospects.
Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ because it is made naturally by our bodies when exposed to the sunshine. Vitamin D is very important for your oral health as it is what allows us to absorb calcium. Without it, your entire mouth would suffer from calcium deficiency, leading to underdeveloped teeth, gum disease, and tooth decay.
The food we need to nourish our bodies can often do a number on our teeth. Sticky or sugary food particles help the bacteria in our mouths to produce acids, leading to tooth decay. That’s why it’s so important to keep our teeth clean between meals.
Calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy drinks and tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables help promote strong teeth and bones. Phosphorus, found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts, and beans is good for strong teeth. Here are five foods that can actually help with your oral hygiene, see below –
Crunchy fruits and vegetables increase the flow of cleansing saliva, giving your mouth a fresh feeling. Carrots have been hailed a cavity-fighting vegetable, as munching on sticks of crunchy, raw carrot acts as a natural toothbrush. The chewing action massages your gums, and this bright vegetable is high in plaque-attacking keratin as well as Vitamin A, which is crucial for strengthening delicate tooth enamel.
Eating apples can help cleanse and clean teeth, and fight bad breath. The fibrous content of apples cleans teeth by acting as a toothbrush and scrubbing away plaque from teeth and removing other food debris. The acidity in an apple helps kill off bad bacteria that encourage bad breath. Celery gives your teeth a great workout. As you chew celery, it helps to clean your teeth and massages your gums in the process, while all that chewing will also produce plenty of saliva to neutralize bacteria.
Acid from the foods we eat can eat away at our teeth. But many dairy products can actually reduce the acid in your mouth. And a glass of milk or a piece of cheese is filling. “It satisfies you as far as hunger goes, and sugar found in milk doesn’t contribute to tooth decay,” says Dr. Ron Smith, president of the Canadian Dental Association.
Milk and other dairy products are rich in calcium, which strengthens bones and teeth. Milk also contains a protein called casein – a substance that helps fight tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. The calcium and phosphorous in milk also strengthen and repair tooth enamel that has dissolved due to acid.
Try a slice or two of fresh onion on your sandwich. Research at a Korean University showed that raw onions have powerful antibacterial properties. In an experiment, onions wiped out four strains of bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease. Onions contain antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help prevent diseases not just in the body but in the mouth as well. Chewing a raw onion can strengthen the teeth and kill off harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Furthermore, onions contain fiber and folic acid, a B vitamin that helps the body make healthy new cells. Onions are healthy whether they’re raw or cooked, though raw onions have higher levels of organic sulfur compounds that provide many benefits, Raw onion is incredibly healthy for you, and as an added bonus, the antibacterial sulfur compounds contained in onion will kill the harmful bacteria on your teeth. But you might want to chew gum afterward!
Cashew nut shell oil has been shown to have microbe-fighting properties against bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Not only can these nuts help keep your teeth clean, and they may also clear your skin – research shows cashew nut shell oil helps to fight one of the bacteria that cause acne. Cashews help to maintain healthy gums and teeth. The extra chewing it requires produces plenty of saliva, which neutralizes the bacteria that causes cavities. Additionally, chomping on naturally abrasive foods massages gums and cleans between teeth.
Munching on nuts has benefits for your teeth, also, because most nuts contain vitamin D and calcium. The crunch of nuts in your mouth stimulates saliva production and cleans your teeth. Nuts such as walnuts contain folic acid, magnesium, iron, and potassium, nutrients that can contribute to better oral health.
Are you a sucker for sushi? Now you have another excuse to snack on it. The wasabi that’s usually served on the side may have oral health benefits. Research in Japan has found that this spicy green cousin to horseradish can stop bacteria from sticking to your teet. Wasabi, the pungent green horseradish served with Japanese sushi, has been found to afford yet another health benefit: it could prevent tooth decay.
The isothiocyanates in wasabi are already known to have a variety of beneficial health effects. Eating wasabi strips the harmful bacteria from the mouth and restores the alkalinity in the mouth. It helps in preventing tooth decay and cavities by inhibiting the development of bacteria. Which increases the acids of the saliva thus attacking the tooth enamel.
Most people don’t bother with a dentist appointment until something goes wrong: A tooth falls out, a sudden pain makes it hard to chew, or an injury causes a chip or crack. However, most problems can be prevented if their underlying cause is found early. A regular check-up more than pays for itself by preventing costly dental procedures down the road.
Pain is a poor guide when it comes to teeth. In the case of most dental problems, there won’t be any pain until the situation has become extreme. For example, if one of your teeth has a hairline fracture, you won’t feel anything until the fracture has split, like a piece of firewood, all the way down to the root. Never skip a dentist appointment because you don’t feel any pain, the pain just might not have arrived yet.
Even if you follow these healthy tips, they will do little if you are not already practicing the basics, brushing, and flossing twice daily. You also want to avoid bad habits that can cause damage to your teeth over time.
More than one-third of Americans don’t visit the dentist regularly. Rest assured that your dentist has seen it all, and he or she is here to help, not judge. Taking care of your teeth and taking the first step towards a healthy smile is as simple as making an appointment with your dentist. If nothing looks wrong, there could still be a problem.