Chewing. Everyone does it, but do you know what foods you should never chew?
Let’s skip the obvious choices — everyone knows you should never chew on ice (even though everyone does) or super-sugary, gummy snacks designed to stick to your teeth, like taffy, but what else should you avoid?
Now that summer’s here odds are many of us are trying to active and healthy. Part of this may involve trail mix. Did you know most trail mixes contain at least three or four things you should never chew?
Start with nuts. Nuts can settle and stick in crevices in your teeth, which is a problem for a snack high in natural sugars. Once stuck in your teeth, they can become a hardy snack for decay-causing microorganisms.
Then there’s dried pineapple, mangos, or really any dried fruit – some are worse than others. You know why dried fruit is so delicious? Concentrated, naturally occurring sugars in the fruit. Drying out fruit not only concentrates the sugar, but also increases the odds that sticky, sugar-laden dried fruit bits will stick to your teeth, where they can feed the hungry bacteria and microorganisms that promote tooth decay.
Next, sunflower seeds, which are another trail mix staple. Same problem as nuts, only smaller, so more likely to get imbedded in place that only a good, thorough flossing can remove.
Finally, many trail mixes contain chocolate, and a lot of it. The less said about chocolate and dental health the better – let’s just agree that your mother was right about this one.
So, rather eaten together – as trail mix – or separately, there’s four things right there that chewing can be hazardous to your dental health.
Also, as a bonus, let’s add another summer favorite to that list – popsicles. Popsicles are basically sugar-on-a-stick, and, the longer you take to eat one, the higher the sugar exposure to your teeth will be. And don’t be fooled by frozen treats that brag about their juice content, since most juices are mainly sugar.
So what are a few good foods to chew on?
Cheese is an excellent food for dental health. Cheese increases saliva production, which has a cleansing affect, as well as altering the PH levels of the mouth in such a way to reduce bacterial growth.
Raisins, unlike most other dried fruits, are also good for dental health. Raisins have very little sugar, as well as containing phytochemicals, which have been shown to kill cavity-causing bacterial. Some compounds in raisins are also believed to fight gum disease.
And keeping with the small fruit theme, there’s cranberries. Cranberries, like tea – which is also excellent for oral health – contain polyphenols. What’s so special about polyphenols? Polyphenols make teeth ‘slippery’ so plaque doesn’t stick to them. One caveat, however, is that many cranberry products have added sugar, so you’ll need to either eat fresh cranberries, or read the labels of cranberry products very carefully to get the full benefit without added sugar.
Raw vegetables such as carrots, apples, and cucumbers are also very good for you. The firmness of all three means that each time you bite into one you are also inadvertently scrubbing plaque off the surfaces of your teeth.
If you need more ideas regarding the best foods for your teeth, your friends at Highland Oaks Family Dentistry in Keller, Texas will be happy to help.
Contact us today for more information.