Prevent Cavities With These Foods
It’s true: There is no substitute for good oral hygiene (as well as regular visits to the dentist) if you want to prevent cavities – but what you eat can influence whether or not you get cavities, as well. Why?
Because cavities occur when simple carbohydrates are left on the teeth for long periods of time. This promotes “bad bacterial” growth on the teeth, and that can ultimately lead to tooth decay.
Cavities: Not just for kids
Although much of the conventional wisdom on cavities focuses on helping children avoid them, adults are just as at risk of getting them as children are. In addition, aging makes adults more susceptible to cavities because gum recession encourages decay at the tooth root level. Another problem is that decades old dental fillings can begin to wear out and weaken, encouraging decay at their sites.
Fortunately, in addition to good oral hygiene, what you eat can actually help you prevent cavities.
Help prevent cavities with these foods:
Sinking your teeth into a good, crisp apple and crunching away does actually help your saliva clean your teeth. In addition, apples are rich in flavonoids, which inhibit the growth of “bad bacteria” in the mouth.
Chocolate (without sugar)
Specifically, cocoa. The polyphenols in cocoa help prevent cavities because they prevent two specific and destructive strains of bacteria, S. sanguinis and Streptococcus, from creating the acid that causes cavities. This isn’t an invitation to nosh on a sugary chocolate bar, by the way. Sugar-free, unadulterated cocoa powder is the preventative you’re looking for – and by the way, coffee and tea also contains similar polyphenols that also put the kibosh on cavity-causing bad bacteria. (Again, ingest without sugar.)
Cheese helps prevent the loss of minerals in teeth; cheese also contains a protein called casein, which can counteract acids that cause tooth decay. There’s no need to break out an eight-ounce block and chow down, however. Just a five-gram serving is enough to keep your teeth healthy.
Peanuts and peanut butter are both full of good nutrition and fiber, but eating peanuts is what is going to help you prevent cavities. That’s because chewing decreases plaque buildup; besides that, peanuts are one of the least “dangerous” foods you can eat when it comes to developing cavities. They are one of the most “anti-cariogenic” foods around.
Flavonoids to the rescue. Cranberries are notorious bacteria fighters, thanks in part to the flavonoids they contain. If you don’t like cranberries, blueberries are also rich in flavonoids. Just make sure to buy them fresh or frozen, and without added sugar.
In addition to being rich in polyphenols as mentioned above, tea is also a rich natural source of fluoride. Fluoride, as you might know, supports healthy teeth by strengthening them. Other natural chemicals in tea also inhibit the growth of a substance called glucosyltransferase, which is an enzyme that helps plaque stick to tooth enamel.
Yogurt or Kefir
Unsweetened yogurt or kefir contains phosphorus and calcium, both minerals that strengthen teeth. Again, look for varieties with no sugar added.
Remember that in addition to eating healthy foods and practicing good oral hygiene, regular dental visits are essential to maintaining healthy teeth. Contact Dr. Dana Keith to set up your regular checkup today. We at Dana Keith DDS provide complete exams and treatment for a variety of oral health problems, including cavities. Call us at (301) 302-0920 or request an appointment using our online form. Our dental team can take care of existing cavities and help you prevent further ones with our high quality dental health care.