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by Jillian Aitken on June 8th, 2016

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t eat sugar, blah, blah, blah…”.

We’ve all heard it before during our dental appointments. But it’s actually about more than simply cutting down on sugar! Plaque is a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other materials that covers all the surfaces of your teeth. When sugar or starches are eaten, they come in contact with plaque, and the acid that results can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating. These repeated acid attacks can result in tooth decay, and can break down the hard enamel of the tooth. This being said: what can you do? Being more mindful of the sugar and starches in certain foods can help protect teeth in addition to regular brushing. Below are examples of the “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys” in relation to oral care:

The Good Guys

  • Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables. This includes apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, mangos, persimmons, and guavas. Foods with fibre stimulate saliva flow, which is a natural defense against cavities and gum disease. Saliva neutralizes acids that attack the tooth, and also contains traces of calcium and phosphate that can help restore the minerals of teeth.
  • Milk, yogurt and dairy products. This one should come as no surprise, as these foods are loaded with calcium —- a powerhouse of bone-building. Foods in this category include, milk, yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Good news, fellow cheese-lovers! Cheese in particular is another saliva generator. In addition, the calcium and phosphates found in milk and other dairy products help put minerals back into your teeth that you may have lost due to other foods.
  • Nuts and seeds. This includes sesame seeds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts. Just remember to chew them properly and not to "crack" them hard with your teeth; which can damage them. Nuts and seeds are very high in calcium, and help preserve the bone under the gums and teeth. Due to their texture, eating nuts and seeds can also slough off plaque and tartar. Just remember to brush thoroughly to remove any nut/seed particles that can cause irritation. If left wedged between teeth or gums, the tiniest seed can seem mammoth, and cause a lot of pressure/pain.

The Bad Guys

  • Carbonated beverages. Drinking a carbonated beverage is probably one of the worst things you can do for your oral health. However, while many people believe that sugar is the problem in their favourite sodas, the real culprit is ACID. Even diet sodas contain acid that erodes tooth enamel, and cause cavities!
  • Hard candy. Sucking on a hard candy or a colourful lollipop may seem innocent enough, but these candies expose your mouth to harsh sugars for longer periods of time (especially if you have a carnival-sized lollipop!). “Fine, I‘ll just chew them so they’re not in my mouth for so long…” – think again! Chewing/cracking hard candy can chip teeth, and damage sealants.
  • Wine. CALM DOWN – this doesn’t mean kissing your glass of vino goodbye! But one should be aware of how easily “wine teeth” can develop. The acids in red and white wine can wear down the surface of the tooth, letting stains latch on.

The Takeway?

Maintaining good oral health affects many aspects of a person’s life, and poor oral health opens the door to many health complications. Missing and decaying teeth contribute to low self-esteem; people tend to cover their mouths, or not smile in photographs because they are self-conscious. Poor oral health also affects a person’s ability to chew and properly digest food. As a result, this means the body will not be fuelled in the best way possible, and you will not be able to do activities you normally enjoy. You may avoid certain foods that irritate your mouth, or begin eating unhealthy foods, simply because they are “easier” on your teeth. Poor oral health also comes with pain/inflammation, which is a huge factor in behavioural issues in children and adults alike. Upholding and preserving your oral health means that you will be able to live a long, healthy life; filled with the foods you will continue to be able to enjoy.

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Mint Dentistry is a Toronto dental office with locations on Queen Street West and in The Junction.

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Queen West location

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P: 416-516-MINT (6468)
F: 416-516-6467

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Mint Dentistry Queen West

106-1153 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M6J 1J4

Two free parking spots reserved for patients right in front of our door. Eastbound streetcar stop: Beaconsfield. Westbound: Abell.

Hours

Sat: 8am to 1pm once a month

Junction location

Contact

[email protected]
P: 416-767-MINT (6468)
F: 416-763-5517

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Click here to download our virtual business card. All our contact info right to your phone or computer, no typing required.

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Mint Dentistry Junction

3084 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M6P 1Z8

The number 40 Junction bus runs every ten minutes or better and stops at Quebec Ave. both eastbound and westbound. One hour and three hour free parking often available on side streets.

Hours

Sat: 8am to 1pm once a month

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