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Oral hygiene plays a vital role in our overall health. And sometimes, a healthy mouth can indicate that we are taking care of our bodies as a whole. Since these go hand in hand, how can you ensure you’re taking care of your hygiene and eating the right things?
To have a healthy mouth and avoid bad breath, there are certain foods to stay clear of. From sugars to garlic, here are the top foods to avoid to maintain a healthy mouth.
Foods to Avoid for a Healthy Mouth
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Sugars are in pretty much everything we consume. Sometimes, it’s natural like berries, but other times, it’s an additive or straight up spoonfuls in our coffee. Unfortunately, sugar is notorious for causing damage to our oral hygiene. For instance, cavities thrive on sugary beverages and foods, which in turn produce acid that attacks our teeth.
That’s why one of the first steps to maintain a healthy mouth is to minimize your consumption of sugar. While it’s nearly impossible to eliminate sugar entirely, you can reduce your intake. Here are some drinks and foods to avoid:
- Fruit juices
- Sports drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sweet tea
- Coffee drinks
- Dried fruits
2. Coffee and Other Acidic Drinks
Most of us enjoy a bit of sugar to balance out the bitterness of coffee. But when it comes to coffee, it’s not just the sugar and creamer you need to avoid. Coffee, as a whole, can stain teeth and cause dehydration that causes halitosis (bad breath) and can even weaken enamel.
Coffee, black teas and red wines, for example, contain a certain level of acidity with high tannin content that can weaken the enamel and create bacteria in the mouth. But if you can’t go a morning or day without coffee, at least try to drink it through a straw to bypass your mouth mostly. Since coffee’s acidity weakens the enamel, it’s also important to rinse your mouth and wait 30 minutes before brushing.
3. Bread and Starchy Foods
Bread and other starchy foods are also not kind to a healthy mouth. When you chew that bite of sandwich or piece of bread, your saliva begins to break down the starch and turn it into sugar. This creates a thick substance that sticks like glue in the crevices of your teeth, causing cavities. Essentially, starch turns into sugar, which can become trapped within the teeth, feeding plaque’s bacteria. If you need those carbs, reach for whole wheat that has less sugar.
Potato chips offer a satisfying crunch next to a sandwich, but they too are packed with starch. This acid can linger far past lunch, so after you’ve polished off some chips, at least do a thorough floss to remove any chip particles.
4. Garlic and Onions
You’ve always heard to avoid dishes with garlic and onions on a date. Sadly, while they can be quite nutritious, garlic and onions have a bad rap for bad breath. Essentially, their sulfur compound can not only linger within your mouth, but it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. With each exhale, you emit a sulfur-like gassy smell. Not pleasant.
For a Healthy Mouth, Reach for These Instead
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Drink More Water
Drink water with meals (or at least after meals) to flush your teeth of bacteria and natural acids. To add, many households are tapped into a community water supply with fluoridated water. Fluoride is a mineral that decreases acid levels in the mouth and gums and can help resist tooth decay. Especially since most bottled waters don’t contain fluoride, you can create a healthy mouth by filling up a reusable water bottle with water from your faucet.
Fresh Fiber-Rich Fruits and Veggies
Fresh fruits and vegetables can help maintain a healthy mouth, too. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fruits and veggies high in fiber produce more saliva, cleansing the mouth naturally to defend against cavities and gum diseases.
Other Tips for a Healthy Mouth
Grazing throughout the day, instead of eating dedicated meals, should also be avoided. Essentially, it keeps your mouth producing acids to break down the meals, which can be harmful. Instead, allow yourself at least two hours between meals and snacks.
Maintaining a nutritious diet is only one part of maintaining a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene. To ensure genuinely healthy teeth and gums, you must have routine dental checkups with cleanings, brush at least twice a day and floss regularly.
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