Say Cheese: The Foods to Eat During National Smile Month

Say cheese! It’s National Smile Month. Many people don’t think much about the connection between their diets and their smile. However, what you eat can directly impact the integrity of your smile. At Young Family Dental, here are our favorite foods that you can add to achieve a healthier smile this month (and all year long!) 

The Best Foods For Your Smile 

What you eat not only affects your weight, fitness, and overall health, but it also affects your teeth and gums. If you want a healthy smile, incorporate more of the following foods. The University of Illinois College of Dentistry list some of the best foods for your smile: 

Cheese, milk, and yogurt 

In regards to your smile, cheese is one of the best foods for it. It is low in sugar and it also contains casein, which is a protein that has been useful for fortifying tooth enamel. The calcium in cheese helps main bone density, and cheese is also high in phosphate content, which helps balance pH levels in the mouth, preserving tooth enamel. Further, chewing cheese helps increase saliva production which helps wash away bacteria in the mouth. 

Milk is one of the best drinks for you other than water. When it comes to your teeth, milk is high in calcium and can help lower acid levels in the mouth, which means it fights tooth decay. 

Yogurt is also packed with calcium like cheese and milk. Further, it contains probiotics that protect your teeth from cavities, your gums from gum disease, and even bad breath. 

Celery, carrots, and other crunchy vegetables 

A lot of different vegetables are good for your teeth because they require a lot of chewing to clean teeth surfaces. Crunchy, firm foods that contain a lot of water are great for your teeth and act as cleaners. They stimulate saliva flow and help scrub away food particles and bacteria. These types of vegetables are also full of vitamins and minerals.

Celery in particular is the closest thing to being nature’s dental floss. The crunchy and fibrous texture makes for an effective teeth cleaner. Carrots are also one of the great cavity-fighting vegetables. They have lots of vitamin C, calcium, and keratins all have benefits for your smile. 

Leafy greens 

Greens like spinach, lettuce, and kale are great for you and are rich in calcium, folic acid, and lots of important vitamins and minerals that your teeth and gums greatly benefit from. 

Apples and pears 

While an apple a day won’t necessarily keep the dentist away, it’s great for your smile. Apples and other fibrous fruits help clean your teeth and increase saliva, which can neutralize the citric and malic acids left behind in your mouth. Unlike many acidic fruits, raw pears are good at neutralizing acids in your mouth that could cause tooth decay. 

Foods to Avoid

While there are foods great for your teeth, there are also foods that could potentially harm your smile. Healthline lists the top 8 worst foods for your teeth to be:

  • Sour candy: these candies contain acids that are hard on your teeth. Since they’re also chewy, they can stick to your teeth longer and are more likely to result in decay. 
  • Bread: when you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar and can stick to the crevices between your teeth. 
  • Alcohol: drinking alcohol can dry out your mouth. Your mouth needs saliva to prevent food from sticking to your teeth and to wash away food particles. 
  • Carbonated drinks: most people know to stay away from soda, but this also means sparkling water. Drinking large amounts of carbonated beverages can be extremely damaging to your teeth, weakening your enamel and causing tooth sensitivity and more problems.
  • Ice: some people really love to crunch on ice, however, chewing on something is hard as ice can damage your enamel and even cause a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth. 
  • Citrus: even though fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons have health benefits, they can be harmful to your smile because of their acid content. 
  • Potato chips: this highly-addictive snack tastes good, but unfortunately, they’re full of starch which becomes sugar when it enters the mouth. 
  • Dried fruits: many people believe dried fruit is a healthy snack, however, most dried fruits are sticky and tough to chew. When this is the case, they can cling to the teeth and leave behind lots of sugar. 

You don’t have to cut these foods out altogether. However, it’s important to enjoy them in moderation. Rinse your mouth with water only after consuming them, and wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating acidic or sweet foods. 

Maintain Your Smile with Young Family Dental 

Whether you have questions about whether your favorite food is good for your smile or if you’re due for a cleaning, make an appointment with Young Family Dental today. We are conveniently located in Utah in American Fork, Orem, Riverton, West Jordan, and Saratoga Springs — no matter where you’re located, we’re here for you!