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Franklyn Alexander, DDS
General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients Choice Winner 2016

How to Eat for Healthier Teeth

What you eat is only part of the equation for healthy teeth. How you eat also plays a significant role. By making simple tweaks to your eating and drinking behavior, you can improve the health of your teeth and fend off harmful bacteria.

Smarter Drinking Habits

Do you have a tendency to leave a soft drink or sugary coffee beverage on your desk throughout the day, sipping as you go about your work? The next time you’re tempted to do this, remember that you are continuously bathing your teeth in sugar. This constant sugary environment provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which feed on the sugar to create acids that cause damage to teeth and gums. Even juices contain sugar that can have the same impact.

If you feel like sipping on something throughout the day, opt for water. If you need a little kick of flavor, add some fruit to your water to infuse it.

If you do decide to drink something which contains a little sugar, try to finish the beverage quickly. You can also grab a straw and drink from that. Liquids drawn into the mouth through straws bypass much of your teeth.

Don’t Let Those Sugars Stick Around!

We all like to indulge now and then, whether it is dessert or a few pieces of candy. The problem with sweets is that sugars have a tendency to stick to the surface of teeth. This is especially true when eating candy with a sticky texture. To wash away sugar, drink a glass of water after snacks.

Brush your teeth when you have the chance, but be sure you wait at least 30 minutes. Brushing too soon can rub sugar and acids against teeth enamel and cause scratches and damage. If a toothbrush is not available, some foods such as carrots, celery, and apples are dense enough to actually scrub teeth naturally as you eat them. Sugarless gum is another excellent option because it stimulates saliva to rinse your teeth similar to the effect of rinsing with water.

Timing Really is Everything

Another good tip is to eat sugary foods with a meal. When are eating a meal, the mouth produces higher levels of saliva as part of the digestive process. Sugar is less likely to remain in the mouth if it is combined with other food or washed away by saliva.

Try to make brushing your teeth one of the last things you do before going to bed. Also try to avoid eating before going to sleep so bacteria will not have plenty of time during the night to break down sugars and form plaque.