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            The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan

Nourishing Your Smile: The Best and Worst Foods for Healthy Teeth

<p>​A bright smile is a confidence booster, but keeping your teeth strong and healthy goes beyond aesthetics. What you eat plays an important role in your oral health. The connection between diet and oral health is profound, affecting not only the strength of teeth but also the health of gums and overall oral hygiene.</p><p>Let&#39;s delve into the dietary do&#39;s and don&#39;ts to keep your teeth gleaming and your gums healthy.
</p><p><strong>What to Eat:</strong></p><ol><li><strong>Calcium-rich foods: </strong>Dairy products like cheese, milk, and plain yoghurt are essential for healthy teeth. They provide calcium and phosphorus, minerals crucial for building strong teeth and remineralising enamel.</li><li><strong>Crunchy fruits and vegetables:</strong> Crisp fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, and cucumbers are more than just vitamin bombs. These foods increase saliva flow, a natural mechanism that washes away food particles and reduces the effects of cavity-causing acids, protecting teeth from decay. </li><li><strong>Proteins: </strong>Foods rich in proteins like poultry, fish, and eggs provide phosphorus, which alongside calcium, helps to strengthen tooth enamel.</li></ol><p><strong>Foods to Limit: </strong></p><ol><li><strong>Sugary foods: </strong>Sugary treats like candies, cookies, sodas, and cakes are a feast for harmful mouth bacteria. They produce acid that erodes tooth enamel, paving the way for cavities.</li><li><strong>Starchy snacks: </strong>Foods like chips, crackers, and bread can get lodged between teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive. Choose whole-grain alternatives instead (such as bran or multigrain bread, brown rice, homemade whole-grain chapatis, whole-grain cereals, etc.) and remember to floss regularly.</li><li><strong>Acidic foods and drinks:</strong> Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and acidic drinks like citrus juices, sodas, and carbonated drinks can weaken tooth enamel over time. Enjoy them in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterward. </li><li><strong>Caffeine and tobacco:</strong> Both caffeine and tobacco can stain teeth and lead to gum disease. Limit your coffee and tea intake, and if you smoke, consider quitting for the sake of maintaining strong teeth and overall health.</li></ol><p><strong>Diet Hacks for a Bright Smile:</strong></p><ol><li><strong>Limit between-meal snacks: </strong>Frequent snacking between meals exposes teeth to a constant stream of acid. Limit sugary snacks and focus on balanced meals. Saliva production is higher during meals, helping to neutralise acids and wash away food particles.</li><li><strong>Stay hydrated:</strong> Staying hydrated with water is crucial for overall health, and your mouth is no exception. Water helps flush away food particles and keeps your mouth moist, hindering bacterial growth.</li><li><strong>Have sugarless chewing gum: </strong>Sugar-free gum helps increase saliva flow and wash out food particles and acid from your mouth. ​
</li></ol><p>Maintaining a healthy diet is vital for overall well-being, including oral health. By making mindful food choices and avoiding harmful habits, you can protect your teeth and gums, reducing the risk of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. A healthy diet, however, is just one piece of the puzzle. Brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and regular dental checkups are essential for optimal oral health. By combining good dietary habits with a proper dental care routine, you can ensure a healthy smile that lights up the room. ​
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