Careful toothbrushing is paramount for long-lasting dental health. But certain foods can also make a positive contribution. Other foods, on the other hand, are poison for the teeth and thus have exactly the opposite effect. In the following guide we will show you which foods are recommended or should be avoided or what to look out for when enjoying special foods and drinks.
Which foods are poisonous for teeth?
In addition to regular dental hygiene, diet also has a major impact on dental health. Sugary lemonades and soft drinks are rightly considered unhealthy for the teeth. Due to their high sugar content, they are the ideal food for caries bacteria. These attack the protective tooth enamel. Drinking water, mineral water and unsweetened teas are suitable for quenching thirst and protecting your teeth at the same time. Anyone who drinks mineral water after all meals washes away a large part of the food residues in the mouth and thus reduces the formation of bacteria. Sugar substitutes like sorbitol and xylitol do not save calories, but they are healthier for the teeth than sugar. Many toothpastes contain xylitol as a sweetener.
Sweets and foods with hidden sugar
If you like sweets now and then, you should only consume them with main meals. As a general rule, it is better to eat a bar of chocolate at once instead of spreading it in pieces over the entire day. Of course, there is also the hidden sugar to be considered, which is found in many foods such as ketchup, fruit yogurt and sweetened quark. There are often more than 40 sugar cubes in a bottle of ketchup. One of the biggest sugar traps is low-fat yogurt, in which missing flavors from fats are compensated for with additional sugar. Muesli and cornflakes consist of up to 30 percent sugar.
The few examples show how important it is to read the ingredient labels carefully. This list is always sorted according to the quantities it contains. If sugar is at the forefront, it is most likely high. A popular trick used by manufacturers is that sugar is not always listed under this name. Other terms for this are, for example, sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose or fruit sweetness.
Food that sticks to the teeth will stay in the mouth longer, increasing the risk of tooth decay. These include, for example, sticky candies or dried fruits. They should be eaten with a main meal, as more saliva is formed. This promotes the decomposition of the particles. In between, sticky foods should be avoided.
Conscious handling of acidic foods and beverages
Many types of fruit also contain plenty of sugar and, on top of that, fruit acids. Therefore, while they may be healthy, they are not tooth-friendly as acids attack the tooth enamel and erode it. It is therefore important not to brush your teeth directly after consuming acidic foods, but rather to wait half an hour. Otherwise, the toothbrush would literally sand down the tooth enamel softened by the acids.
What foods are good for your teeth?
Foods with calcium such as dairy products
Milk and dairy products such as unsweetened quark, natural yogurt and cheese are good for your teeth because of the calcium they contain. They provide you with an important mineral that is required for firming. Hard cheese is the perfect way to end a meal, because the high calcium content hardens the teeth. The fat it contains also covers it like a film and protects the tooth enamel and thus the teeth from acid attack.
Plant-based foods high in calcium
Even with a plant-based diet, it is possible to supply the body with plenty of calcium, for example through calcium-rich vegetables such as broccoli, kale, leek and fennel, whole grain products, legumes and calcium-rich mineral water. Foods that are high in calcium have a remineralizing effect. They help the tooth to rebuild minerals that have been removed. This strengthens the enamel. Sesame seeds and soy also contain a lot of calcium and thus strengthen the tooth enamel. This makes it easy to ensure adequate calcium intake even with a vegan diet.
Low acid vegetables
Low-acid vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers and cabbage strengthen and protect the teeth, as they hardly attack the tooth enamel. Hard vegetables such as carrots, which have to be chewed for a long time, are ideal because they stimulate the flow of saliva, which also promotes remineralization and the removal of harmful substances. The interdental spaces are also cleaned and the gums are strengthened, because they are massaged, so to speak. The intensive chewing also increases the blood supply to the gums. With a healthy diet, it is also helpful to chew sugar-free chewing gum after eating, as this also stimulates the production of saliva.
Strawberries and red grapes
Strawberries can make teeth whiter because the enzyme they contain acts like a bleaching agent. This enzyme is also used in whitening toothpastes. The pulp of the strawberries also frees the mouth from harmful bacteria. Red grapes inhibit the growth of caries bacteria thanks to the secondary plant substances they contain.
Whole grain bread
The rough surface of the coarsely ground grains in wholemeal bread acts like a toothbrush, so that soft toppings are loosened while chewing. Whole grain bread also promotes intensive chewing, which in turn stimulates the flow of saliva and neutralizes acids.
Legumes like lentils, peas, and beans are high in calcium and fluoride. Both substances stimulate the remineralization of the tooth enamel. Fluoride also counteracts harmful tooth bacteria.
Thanks to the polyphenols it contains, green tea inhibits the production of acid and is able to reduce gum inflammation. Green tea also contains botanicals that fight tooth decay bacteria.
One more tip at the end: Consistent consumption of foods that have a low nutritional value is just as bad for your teeth. The organism needs a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals in order to fight infections. Otherwise the gums become more prone to periodontal disease. A high consumption of coffee, black tea, red wine, nicotine, coloring foods and spices such as curry or turmeric promotes discoloration of the teeth in the long term.