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Usually, when people are dieting, they think about their waistline, their thighs, their arms, etc. But doesn’t it make sense to think about your teeth the part of your body most directly relevant to eating, and therefore dieting?

Teeth 101

Each healthy tooth is covered with a layer of enamel, which acts as the first line of defense against bacteria. Your enamel is the reason that millions of bacteria can live in a person’s mouth, yet he or she can still sport pearly whites. Saliva plays a role in both washing away leftover food particles and sugars as well as repairing enamel.

When you eat or drink something, it leaves behind residues, such as sugars and acids, that the bacteria then consume. In their act of consuming the sugars, they give off an acidic byproduct that dissolves away the enamel, which is why sugar is linked to tooth decay.

If the bacteria can get past the enamel and gain access to the much more sensitive inner layers of the tooth, they will even more quickly dissolve away the rest of the tooth, creating a cavity. Once a cavity is formed, the tooth will not grow back.

Whether you diet already or not, watching what goes into your mouth and how it affects your dental health could be something to consider from now on.

The foods that are good for your teeth also happen to be good for your overall health as well, which makes dieting with your teeth in mind not so difficult at all. Here are a list of foods that directly benefit your teeth by providing the necessary nutrients and minerals for strong and healthy teeth.

Here is a list of the foods that are the most beneficial to your teeth. Consider adding them to your daily diet, adjust as is appropriate for any dietary concerns that you already have. You do not have to incorporate all of these, but emphasizing even one or two can help.

Beneficial Foods for Your Teeth

Dairy Products

We’ve all heard about how kids need calcium because it helps strengthen their bones. Well, teeth aren’t technically bones, but they share a lot of the same properties. Calcium is a main ingredient in enamel, so consuming dairy products greatly boosts enamel stabilization and repair. Milk and cheese in particular are really great for teeth. Avoid dairy products high in sugar, though, since those sugars will feed the bacteria in your mouth.

Water

It’s nature’s perfect concoction. It keeps you hydrated, which boosts saliva production. It washes away sugars, acid, and food particles from your teeth. Tap water in the US also includes fluoride, which strengthens the enamel.

Strawberries

This yummy fruit is high in water content, so it dilutes the natural sugars. The vitamin C in strawberries also makes it beneficial for fortifying enamel. It also contains malic acid, which whitens your enamel!

Celery

The effort it takes to chew celery generates saliva. The crunchiness is also good for cleaning the surfaces of your teeth; just be careful not to get the fibers caught and left behind between teeth.

Sugarless Gum

It generates saliva, neutralizing bacterial acids, washing away food, and repairing enamel.

Meat

The protein that you get from meats is used in saliva. Boosting your protein also boosts the effectiveness of your saliva.

Wild Salmon

This meat choice in particular is choice for your teeth because of its vitamin D content, which helps your body absorb calcium more efficiently.

You already know what foods help your teeth, but what about the foods that hurt your teeth? What should you be taking out of your diet or at least consuming in moderation?

Foods to Avoid

Every diet has its inclusions and exclusions. For this one, it also happens, again, that the foods that are bad for your teeth are generally bad for your overall health as well.

Soda

The high sugar content and acidity make this popular drink a disaster for teeth.

Pickles

They are acidic, which only supports the bacterial acids’ efforts in dissolving your enamel.

Chewy Candy

These stick to your teeth and coat them with sugar, creating a heavenly environment for the bacteria in your mouth.

Hard Candy

It might not stick to your teeth, but hard candy isn’t much better than soft candy because they usually take longer to consume, and, as a result, your teeth end up being exposed to their sugars for an extended period of time.

Citrus Fruits

These are also quite acidic and should be eaten as part of a larger meal rather than alone.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can never eat these things again. Like other diets, this one focuses on moderation and creating good habits. If you do consume these, try to drink a glass of water afterwards or rinse your mouth with tap water.

Brushing, flossing, and eating well are key to maintaining a beautiful smile. So the next time you plan out your diet, keep your teeth in mind, too; you want to be able to confidently smile about your results, don’t you?

Get started on your healthy, beautiful smile today!