It's no fun passing up sugary treats like cookies and candies. But when it comes to tooth decay, food choices play an important role. Some foods can harm your teeth, while others contain essential nutrients to keep them healthy and strong. To help prevent tooth decay, keep the following food choices in mind.
Calcium is a prime ingredient for preventing tooth decay, especially for growing children. Dairy is a great source, with choices such as milk, yogurt and cheese. And calcium isn't hiding in the fat, so skim milk and low-fat yogurt are just as good. Other options are leafy greens such as broccoli and bok choy, canned fish with bones, almonds, Brazil nuts and dried beans.
Fruit, Fiber and Veggies
Eating high-fiber foods keeps saliva flowing, which helps create mineral defenses against tooth decay. Good sources of fiber are dried fruits such as dates, raisins and figs, and fresh fruits, like bananas, apples and oranges. Other options include veggies, such as beans, Brussels sprouts and peas, along with peanuts, almonds and bran.
Whole grains provide B vitamins and iron, which help keep gums healthy. Whole grains also have magnesium-an important ingredient for bones and teeth. In addition, whole grains are high in fiber. Look for foods such as bran, brown rice, and whole-grain cereals and pasta to be good sources of whole grains.
When you get the munchies, focus on choosing healthy foods, like the ones we mentioned earlier. Try to steer clear of sweets, because sugar partners with plaque to weaken enamel, leaving you vulnerable to tooth decay. In fact, each time you eat a sugary snack, your teeth are under siege for the next 20 minutes.
The Food Pyramid
When looking to follow a healthy diet that's good for your teeth and the rest of your body, try sticking to the food pyramid. The pyramid is structured to give you a healthy serving of all the necessary food groups you need throughout the day.