Which Foods Help or Hurt My Teeth?

Patient Resources Dentists Wayland Coopersville Mi

Which Foods Help or Hurt My Teeth?

Patient Resources Dentists Wayland Coopersville Mi

You’ve probably heard a lot about the foods that stain or damage your teeth, but what about foods that are good for your teeth? We’ll discuss the foods that harm your teeth because it’s important to know what to avoid/limit and why, but we want to give you some good news on what foods can help.

Teeth Friendly Foods & Drinks

Dark chocolate, yes, you read that right, dark chocolate can actually help fight plaque and build up against cavities. The best kind of dark chocolate for your teeth is 70% cocoa with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving and the less processed it is the better, as that will leave more of the natural antioxidants in the chocolate rather than processing them out.

Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols which are a group of antioxidants that reduces inflammation lowering your risk of gingivitis. Milk chocolate is generally more sugary and for that reason, we don’t recommend eating a lot of it. Some dark chocolate can be sugar-saturated too, but in most cases, the closer the chocolate is to pure cocoa, the healthier it is.

Chocolate is great. Most all people love some kind of chocolate, but it’s not the only food that can help your teeth:

  • Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Papaya
  • Cheese, especially aged cheese
  • Low sugar yogurt
  • Turmeric

Fruits and vegetables with a high water content are better because it helps balance out the natural sugars they contain. Milk (low to no sugar) contains the protein, casein, which works to prevent staining and attracts calcium phosphates that are key minerals in preventing plaque buildup and restoring cavities.

Foods & Drinks to Limit/Avoid

There are so many common drinks people consume every single day that damage and/or stain their teeth. Drinks like coffee, tea, and fruit juices are naturally acidic (some more so than others) and often have a high sugar content, and the same is true for pop and energy drinks.

Alcohol (especially red wine), vinaigrettes, and soy sauce may not be super surgery but aren’t lacking the acidity which is catastrophic for your enamel. Red wine has a lot of health benefits including being high in resveratrol and polyphenols. 

While everyone knows the hard, sticky, sour candy along with cakes, pies, and other desserts cause tooth decay and staining, here’s a list of what else to watch out for:

  • Most berries (minus strawberries)
  • Beets
  • Bread
  • Curry
  • Tomato sauce
  • Dried fruit
  • Potato chips

Among non-citrus fruits, strawberries have a much lighter color so they’re not likely to discolor your teeth. Beets, curry, and tomato sauce on the other hand are highly likely to discolor your teeth especially if you eat them consistently and don’t properly take care of your teeth afterward.

Bread and potato chips are high-starch foods that break down to sugar and then turn into cavities. Potato chips are especially worrisome because when you crunch down on them they can go anywhere in your mouth and not realize they’re still there.

Dried fruit tends to have more sugar and be stickier, letting it pose a greater threat to your teeth than normal fruit. It’s almost important to watch your citrus intake because while vitamin C is important and they’re not likely to stain your teeth, they have some of the highest acid concentration.

Ready for an Appointment?

Our dentists in Cascade, Coopersville and Wayland want to help you keep your teeth healthy and strong. To schedule an appointment with Robinson Dental, call any of our offices in Cascade, Coopersville and Wayland.