Many of the foods that are bad for your teeth are also bad for your health or waistline, so you have plenty of incentive to avoid them. For example, it will come as no surprise to you that sticky candies and sugar-laden sodas will lead to cavities. Since these foods are also basically empty calories, most people don't have a problem keeping them to a minimum. But what about healthy foods? Unfortunately, some foods that are great for you can also be pretty rough on your teeth. Take a look at some workarounds that will help you get the nutrition you need without the risk to your teeth.
If you're looking for a healthy snack between meals, you can't do much better than a handful of nuts. Like potato chips, they can be satisfying to crunch and munch on, but unlike potato chips, which can be greasy and high in sodium, nuts have cholesterol-lowering unsaturated fats, heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, which can help you stay full longer so that you eat less, and other great nutrients.
However, nuts can also be dangerous to your teeth. Some nuts, like pistachios, are often sold in their shells, and most people don't think anything of cracking into those shells with their teeth – that is until they crack a tooth or lose a filling. What's more, even nuts with the shells removed can be jawbreakers – whole almonds, for example, are extremely hard and can easily damage teeth or dental work.
Luckily, there's a simple workaround. Just buy nuts that are removed from their shells and are chopped, crushed, or slivered. This makes them much easier to chew and minimizes the chance of a nut-related dental emergency.
Beets are not just a side dish – the bright red root vegetables are also a popular ingredient in vegetable-based juices. And there's a reason why health-conscious dieters and juicers include beets – they have tons of health benefits. The nitrates in beets are good for your blood circulation and may help lower your blood pressure. Athletes eat them to help improve their stamina. They're also full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can help fight off cancers and other diseases.
However, beets also have one major drawback – they stain pretty much everything they touch. And that includes your teeth. That deep purple color may look pretty on a plate or in a glass, but the blotches beets can leave on your smile are far less attractive.
If you enjoy beets, don't give them up, but do be aware of the effects that they can have on the aesthetics of your smile. The longer beet juice stays in your mouth, the more likely stains are to set in, so you'll want to make a habit of brushing your teeth soon after eating beets or drinking beet juice. Also, you may want to ask your dentist whether you should use whitening toothpaste or other whitening products to keep your teeth bright, especially if beets are a big part of your regular diet.
Granted, bread itself isn't usually considered a health food. However, bread is generally considered part of a healthy diet for most people. If you eat eggs and toast for breakfast, a veggie sub for lunch, and a salad and breadsticks for dinner, you'll probably feel that you've made generally healthy meal choices for the day.
The problem is that when you eat white bread, the saliva in your mouth quickly breaks down the bread's starches into sugars. Saliva also softens the bread into a gummy paste that has a tendency to coat your teeth and end up stuck in-between your teeth. Since that sugary paste doesn't wash away easily, cavity-causing bacteria has a great opportunity to get to work causing your teeth to decay.
A simple fix is to change the type of bread that you're eating. Highly processed breads, like ordinary white sliced bread, poses the greatest risk to your teeth. Whole grains, on the other hand, are less sugary and don't break down in your mouth as easily, giving the bacteria less to work with. Even better, whole grains contain lots of healthy nutrients and have even been shown to reduce the risk of gum disease, making them a much better choice for your teeth.
Considering tooth health when planning your diet is just as important as considering your body's other health needs. Talk to dentists about what you can do to ensure that you have a healthy and tooth-friendly diet.Share