Naperville Commons Dental (630) 355-2935 24W500 Maple Ave, #217, Naperville, IL 60540
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How Your Diet Affects Your Dental Health in Naperville

You have probably heard the old saying, “you are what you eat,” and this is particularly true when it comes to your oral health. Whatever you choose to consume must pass over your teeth and gums, and when those substances contain a lot of sugars and starches, it can be extremely detrimental to your teeth. This is because carbohydrates feed the cavity causing bacteria that live inside your mouth.

Plaque, the thin sticky film that forms on your teeth, contains these harmful bacteria, as well as other substances, and when plaque comes in contact with sugar and starch, acid forms. When you consume acid-forming foods, these acids can continue to attack your teeth for 20 minutes or longer after you’ve finished eating or drinking.

The hard enamel on the surface of your teeth will begin to break down with repeated acid attacks, leading to the formation of cavities. As the bacteria proliferate, plaque will build up, causing tartar to form, necessitating a visit to your dentist in Naperville, IL for a professional teeth cleaning. Left unchecked, the bacteria in the plaque trigger an inflammatory response which leads to gingivitis and eventually, periodontitis.

Foods that Fight Plaque and Tooth Decay

While some foods encourage tooth decay, others help to fight the buildup of plaque and tartar. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables for two reasons. First, the fiber helps clean your teeth and gums, and secondly, fiber triggers you to produce more saliva. Saliva reduces the effects of the enzymes and acids that attack your teeth and it also contains traces of phosphate and calcium which helps restore minerals to damaged areas of the teeth.

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Rich in calcium and phosphates, milk, plain yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products are also beneficial for restoring tooth enamel. Consuming these foods helps to replace minerals your teeth may have lost due to exposure to other foods – and cheese stimulates saliva production as an additional benefit.

If you are wondering what beverages might be beneficial to your teeth, consider sipping some tea. In addition to their many other health benefits, green and black teas contain polyphenols that are known to interact with the bacteria that forms plaque. Some of these substances kill the bacteria directly, while others prevent the bacteria from forming the acid that attacks your teeth.

Lastly, pick up some sugarless chewing gum – it does double duty by helping to remove food particles from your teeth and increasing saliva production.

Foods to Avoid

We are certain that we’re not telling you anything new when we reiterate that sticky candies and sweets are bad for your teeth. However, no one is likely to avoid all sweets all of the time – so, if your sweet tooth gets the best of you, choose those that clear out of your mouth quickly and avoid things like caramels, lollipops, and cough drops. Chocolate is thought to be better than other candies, especially dark chocolate, as it has multiple health benefits and washes off the teeth more quickly than other candies.

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It’s also a good idea to avoid starchy foods that stick to the inner surfaces of your mouth. Soft breads, potato chips, and other carbohydrate laden foods that tend to get trapped between the teeth can add to the production of acid and the growth of cavity causing bacteria.

Additionally, it is best to avoid carbonated soft drinks which are not only loaded with sugar, but also contain phosphoric and citric acids which destroy tooth enamel. Substances that dry out your mouth, such as alcohol and many medications, are also harmful to your teeth and gums. If this is caused by medications that you must take, ask your dentist about using a special rinse or gel to help relieve the dryness.

Tips on How to Eat for a Healthy Mouth

In addition to eating the right foods, you can reduce the effect of acid production by eating sugary foods with your meals and limiting between-meal snacks. If you do crave a snack, choose something nutritious and consider chewing a piece of sugarless gum afterward to help clean your teeth and increase the flow of saliva. Lastly, drink more water – it’s good for your overall health and rinses food particles and acids away from your teeth.

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Naperville Commons Dental – Quality Dental Services

If you are looking for a highly-skilled general dentist to help you improve and maintain your dental health, consider making an appointment with our dedicated team at Naperville Commons Dental. Our general dentistry services in Naperville include everything from teeth cleaning and teeth whitening services to state-of-the-art emergency dental care in Naperville. We invite you to call and speak with one of our friendly representatives and schedule an appointment today.

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