Your Diet & Your Teeth

The best and worst foods to eat — a message from your teeth

Your teeth silently endure all manner of insult. Gummy bears? Please don’t. Soda? Why not rub sugar all over your teeth instead? Yet your teeth also celebrate the good choices. Apple slices? Give me another bite! Sugarless gum? Yes, thank you.

Dr. Perry Stamatiades, a top Asheville dentist, wants your teeth to be healthy. When your teeth are healthy, everyone’s happy, because your oral health definitely affects the health of your whole body. So here is a list of the foods your teeth would tell you to eat and the foods to shun, if your teeth could talk.

The Best Foods for Your Teeth

Your teeth love good food as much as they love going to see a top Asheville dentist. When you eat these foods and drink these beverages, you are supporting the health of your teeth. And that’s all your teeth want: to be healthy. It’s OK to cheat now and again, but then be diligent about cleaning. Here are the best foods for your teeth:

  1. Spinach, kale and beans. No, that’s not a three-course meal, but these foods and other leafy greens have lots of fiber, and your teeth love fiber. It gives them a workout to do all that chewing. Eating high-fiber foods, which helps your mouth generate a lot of saliva, also cleans your teeth as you chew. Your teeth love it, and so should you: high-fiber food has lots of healthful benefits.
  2. Milk and dairy products. It’s just like that old commercial: Got milk? Turns out that milk really is good for your bones and teeth. And cheeeese! If they could, your teeth would stand up and cheer whenever you eat cheese or yogurt. Dairy provides calcium and casein, proteins that repair and maintain your tooth enamel.
  3. Strawberries! Admit it: you were beginning to suspect that all the best foods were all “good for you” foods. You are so wrong. Your teeth love big, juicy strawberries. In addition to their natural sweetness, strawberries contain a natural enamel whitener. Teeth love that!
  4. Hard fruit. Apples really are good for your teeth. So are pears, peaches, pineapples, apricots, pomegranates, plums, kiwis and star fruit. The texture helps to clean your teeth as you chew, and because the fruit doesn’t stick to your teeth, bacteria can’t grow.
  5. Sugarless gum. If you have to cheat, if you just have to have something sweet, then this should be your choice. Sugarless gum has an added benefit in the way it stimulates saliva, which strengthens teeth while washing bacteria away. Stick with minty flavors for the best results and freshest breath.

The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Any top Asheville dentist would warn you to avoid foods that are bad for your teeth. If your teeth had a say, they would agree. You always have a choice in the food you eat. All your teeth want is for you to make smart choices. Here are the worst foods you can eat, according to your teeth:

  1. Chewy, acidic sugar candy. You know those sour balls that eventually dissolve into sweet gum? Kids may love them, but they might be the very worst things you can put in your mouth. Your teeth can literally feel the enamel being washed away by the corrosive combination of chewy, acidic and sugary.
  2. Cheese and crackers. Yes, your teeth said it liked cheese, but add crackers and you’re liable to add wine. Both crackers and wine are bad for your teeth. Many crackers stick in your teeth for bacteria to discover, and wine stains and corrodes your teeth. Stick to the cheese alone.
  3. We bet you didn’t see this one coming, but pickles become pickles because they cure in a harsh vinegar solution. When you eat a pickle, you are coating your teeth in that same vinegary substance. Unless you want stumps where your teeth used to be, don’t eat more than one pickle a day.
  4. Citrus fruit and juice. This might be tough to hear because you love it or because it seems like it should be good for you. It’s natural; how can it be bad? But the truth is that citrus is acidic, and when you eat grapefruit, it’s like giving your teeth an acid wash. That might be fine for your jeans, but it eats away the enamel of your teeth. Want citrus? Drink fortified orange juice.
  5. Sugary beverages. You knew soda was going to be on this list, but did you know that energy drinks were even worse? It’s the combination of sugar and citrus that makes energy drinks bad for your teeth. If you want to rehydrate, drink water.
  6. Do you see a pattern here? A lot of the foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth are acidic or staining or both. Coffee is particularly good at staining your teeth over the long term. The residue that coffee leaves on your teeth also attracts bacteria.

Make your teeth happy. Make your top Asheville dentist happy. Make smart choices about what you eat and drink.

—The Zöe Dental Team