Anyone who has ever been to the dentist knows that there are certain foods you should and should not eat to maintain optimal oral health. You might have heard that some crunchy foods are good for your teeth, they act as natural toothbrushes, scrubbing away plaque, acid, and germs as you chew. It is also widely known that crunchy foods can be bad for your teeth because they can be destructive to your gums and enamel. So how do you know what you should and should not be crunching on? This list will help you sort through it all!
This shouldn’t be too hard to believe but fruits and vegetables are the best crunchy foods for your teeth, not to mention your heart, blood pressure, and belly. Not only is it a workout for your mouth to chew crunchy fruits like apples, pears, and carrots, but they also work as a natural toothbrush, breaking up plaque and buildup on your teeth. Vegetables stimulate saliva flow – a natural defense against cavities and gum disease, and contain essential vitamins and minerals for building strong teeth.
Nuts are also a good choice when you need a little crunch in your diet but don’t want to do any damage to your teeth. Peanuts, almonds, cashews, or any other kind of salty nut treat are high in phosphorous and calcium, these two minerals help keep your tooth enamel strong. When you eat foods that are high in phosphorous and calcium you are replenishing these minerals while you chew. This redeposits into your tooth enamel is called remineralization. Nuts are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Fitting them into your daily diet isn’t hard either, you can grab a handful as a snack, throw them into a stir-fry, or add them to a salad at lunchtime.
Hard candies are the worst for your teeth because not only are they full of sugar they also lead to dental emergencies. Crunching down on a hard candy harbors the risk of a chipped or broken tooth. A better alternative to hard candies would be sugar-free gum, or if you want to spoil yourself go with full-sugar gum, just steer clear from the lollipops.
Ice is also dangerous for your teeth, it seems silly as it is just water containing no sugar or additives harmful to your teeth. However, enjoying the water in its liquid form is much safer than chowing down on cubes of ice. Just like hard candies chewing on ice leads to dental emergencies.
Fruits and vegetables are listed under the “good crunch” section because they most definitely are beneficial to your body and your oral health. Considering sticking to the fruits and vegetables in their original form. If you’re picking up dehydrated crunchy versions of these fruits and vegetables you are running the risk of harming your teeth. These types of foods can get stuck in your teeth very easily and deteriorate your enamel. If you have a tendency to enjoy fruits and vegetables with their moisture sucked out try to follow up this snack with a glass of water or by brushing your teeth.
Potato chips also get trapped in your teeth because they are full of starch. This salty treat is hard to turn down but due to the high starch content, your teeth may not be rid of those chips for days. If you are going to indulge in chips make sure you are brushing your teeth right after to get any of the leftovers out of your mouth. It would also be wise to floss to get rid of any of the plaque build-ups.
Unfortunately, like most things in life, the foods that are the worst for your teeth also taste the best. This list of foods you should and should not eat does not mean you’re never allowed to indulge in some unhealthy snacks – you just have to be smart about it. Remember, if you can still feel food residue on your teeth after you eat – brush them and floss! Your teeth and your dentist will thank you!