We all know to floss, to brush two times a day while singing our ABC’s, to use mouthwash, and to avoid candy and soda. But there is more to dental care than that. Candy and soda are not the only things that can have an effect on our oral health. There are certain foods we can eat that actually have a positive impact on our teeth, and even more things that cause harm. Some of the things, both good and bad, are things that common wisdom would make you expect to have little effect.

Among the things that hurt our teeth are things that some consider to be healthy. Anything with sugar, and anything that makes our mouth acidic, can hurt our teeth. Candy and soda are the main culprits, but it is more than that. Cookies, pastries and even juice can all have high levels of sugar. While fructose is the worst kind of sugar, plain cane sugar is often times not all that much better. In fact, all carbohydrates eventually break down into sugar and acids. High carb food like bread and breakfast cereals are not something you would expect to be unhealthy.

Similarly, certain fruits, like bananas or strawberries, have high sugar and high levels of acid. Another good rule of thumb is that any food that is sticky, or gets stuck in your teeth, is something to avoid. Food like chips, raisins, and chewy candies like taffy often times have a multiplier effect. Eating food and drinking beverages with these characteristics, are best drunk quickly if you must. The negative effects stick around, so that it is better to not sip slowly over time. Doing that can stop minerals from being lost. The beverages that stop saliva flow and increase acid, can have the same effects caused by unhealthy food.

There are ways to eat food that have little effect on teeth, and foods that give us the nutrients we desperately need to have healthy teeth. Aged cheese can help get your saliva going to stop the negative effects from bad food, and lowering acidic levels. Candy and gums that are sugar-free also have the same effect as cheese. We mentioned bread earlier, and while refined grains are bad, not all have to be unhealthy. The grains that are good would be whole grains, anything that is whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal etc. Anything that we ate while evolving can help. Low salt intake, chicken, nuts, variety of fruit, dark green vegetables, beans, fish, and yogurt. Yogurt and cheese will give you the calcium you need to provide minerals to rejuvenate teeth.

Many people think it is impossible to repair teeth, but that is not the case. It is not easy to repair enamel or damage, but it is possible to prevent damage and enable slow healing over time, but it will not be a quick process.

We hope that you use these uncommon bits of wisdom to incorporate into your routine for making sure you have proper dental health.