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Food Choices Play an Important Role in Preventing Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Your teeth are essential tools for enabling a balanced and healthy diet. They are imperative for chewing and swallowing, and what you choose to put in your mouth can greatly impact your teeth and gums.

CARY, N.C. – Your teeth are essential tools for enabling a balanced and healthy diet. They are imperative for chewing and swallowing, and what you choose to put in your mouth can greatly impact your teeth and gums. March is National Nutrition Month and the North Carolina Dental Society is reminding you that what you choose to eat matters and can affect your dental health in the long run.  

“What you eat on a daily basis is sure to affect your next dental checkup,” said Dr. Bobbi Stanley of Stanley Dentistry in Cary, North Carolina. “The first signs of poor nutrition often show up in your mouth. From tooth decay to gum disease, certain foods can put you at risk for dental health problems.”

You probably know water, preferably fluoridated, is the most tooth-friendly drink, but how do you know which foods to stay away from? The North Carolina Dental Society recommends limiting your intake of these five foods that can damage your teeth:

  • Hard and sticky candies – Consistent exposure to sugar in sweets can be harmful to your teeth and cause cavities. Hard candies can cause dental emergencies like broken or chipped teeth, while sticky sweets can be hard to rinse off. Instead, opt for sugarless gum that carries the ADA seal to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Citrus – Acidic foods like fruits and juices can erode tooth enamel, leading to decay over time. Citrus can also irritate mouth sores. Next time you eat acidic food, include it as part of a meal and follow up with a glass of water to help rinse the acid from your teeth.
  • Snack foods that “crunch” – Crunchy snack foods like chips and crackers can leave small pieces trapped in your teeth and eventually lead to tooth decay. Take extra care to floss after eating these snacks so plaque doesn’t build up.
  • Sugar-filled drinks – Whether it’s soda, coffee with added sweeteners or sports drinks, you may not realize how much sugar is in the drinks you’re consuming. When you sip on these drinks, plaque in your mouth uses the sugar to produce acids and attack your enamel. Some of these drinks also dry out your mouth, so be sure to drink plenty of water in tandem if you choose to indulge.
  • Ice – Sure, it’s made of water, but chewing on hard substances like ice can leave you with a painful dental emergency or damaged enamel. Instead, break the habit and enjoy water in its liquid form.

For more information about protecting your teeth through proper nutrition, visit www.mouthhealthy.org or consult a dentist in your area.

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About the North Carolina Dental Society

The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,700 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 158,000 dentist members.

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