A Good Diet for Healthy Good Looking Teeth
The white visible section of the teeth is called the tooth enamel. This layer is constantly being dissolved (demineralised) and remineralised depending on the acidity from the mouth. The demineralization of the dental enamel occurs when minerals (calcium and phosphate) from this layer are lost. The main reasons for this phenomenon are eating acidic foods and the action of the acids produced by oral bacteria that live on food particles in the mouth. Genes also have an important thing to say when it comes to premature teeth demineralization and tooth decay.
The teeth of small children are particularly vulnerable to demineralisation, because the tooth enamel is still being developed and is relatively soft. For older people, the demineralisation occurs more often because the enamel layer is worn out. If the demineralisation is not kept under control, it may lead to irreversible dental erosion, when both the tooth enamel and the dentine layer below are dissolved away.
The main cause of demineralisation is the bacteria from the mouth, which produce acids when they break down carbohydrates. In the presence of these acids, some of the calcium within the enamel is dissolved and lost from the tooth surface. At this stage, surface damage to the tooth can be repaired. The teeth can be remineralised by replacing the lost minerals with new ones.
Saliva and fluoride are two key players in remineralization.
Healthy saliva contains ample amounts of the calcium and phosphate ions that can replenish lost minerals in hard tooth structure, and fluoride can be incorporated into the tooth structure to strengthen it. Salivais one of the mouth’s natural defences against this process and protects against dental caries in several ways:
- It helps to remove food leftovers from the teeth.
- It contains bicarbonate that helps neutralise the acid production.
- It delivers minerals such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride to the surface of the tooth, enabling remineralisation to take place.
The fluoride is well-known for its anti-caries effects primarily by reducing demineralization and enhancing remineralisation. When present in low concentrations in saliva and plaque fluid, fluoride ions are likely to be incorporated into the remineralizing surface of the lesion. If fluoride is not available, the oral environment begins to favor demineralization.
What foods should be avoided to protect your teeth from demineralization?
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Common sources of sugar in the diet include soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries. They all should be avoided, because when you drink or eat sugary foods, you’re not only feeding yourself, but you’re feeding the plaque that causes acids. Repeated acid attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, leading to demineralization and tooth decay.
Any food that combines sugar, acid and stickiness have to be avoided.
What should the diet for healthy teeth include?
First of all, for good dental health, you should brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride paste, floss daily and visit the dentist regularly. With regular dental care, the dentist can help prevent oral problems from occurring in the first place and catch those that do occur in the early stages, while they are easy to treat.
Secondly, nutrition is important for every cell in the human body, including those from teeth and gums, so when it comes to diet and eating habits, some smart advices for healthy teeth are:
- Eat a balanced diet, including a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.
- Eat foods rich in minerals and chew them slowly to allow the minerals to mix with the saliva. Some foods high in minerals: cheeses, celery, broccoli, okra, turnips, meat, oats, eggs, soy beans.
- Include in the diet foods containing calcium (milk, cheese, plain yogurt), vitamin D (egg yolks, mushrooms, fish), vitamin C for healthy gums (red peppers and sweet potatoes).
- Don’t brush teeth immediately after eating acidic foods or drinks. Wait at least 20 to 40 minutes before brushing to give time to naturally remineralised and to avoid the removal of a layer from tooth enamel or dentine by brushing.
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables, because they can help wipe away plaque-causing bacteria and can also increase the production of saliva, which helps neutralize bacteria in the mouth. Apples, pears, celery, and carrots are all good choices.
- Limit between-meal snacks. If you decide to eat, choose healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables or a piece of cheese.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat sugary foods less often.
- To allow remineralisation to occur, do not drink or eat more often than one to two hours;