Obviously, dental treatments, both professional and at-home, make a huge difference when it comes to oral health. However, there are additional day to day factors that will greatly impact the health of your smile over time. One of these is diet. Every food and drink that you consume comes into contact with your dental enamel and your oral tissues—tweaking your diet can help you maintain a healthy and bright smile! Keep reading to learn more from our Saint Louis dentists.
You probably already know that junk foods are bad for your smile. In general, this is because these foods contain large amounts of sugars and refined carbohydrates. Harmful oral bacteria love to feed on sugars; the energy that bacteria get from these foods and drinks allow the bacteria to grow and multiply.
So, as you would imagine, it’s a good idea to limit your consumption of sugary substances, as much as possible. It also matters how and when you consume these treats. In general, it is better to indulge in a specific, short period of time. This is because oral bacteria stay busy feeding for about 20 to 30 minutes after you stop eating or drinking. So, consuming sugary treats just once during the day is better than snacking or sipping continuously. You can also get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking, in order to clear away dental debris and encourage saliva production.
You also want to pay attention to how many acidic substances you’re consuming. Acidic foods and drinks actually soften dental enamel temporarily, and, during this time, enamel is more susceptible to damage. When you do eat or drink something acidic, make sure not to brush your teeth for at least 20 to 30 minutes after you finish. This is because your enamel stays soft for this period of time. Consequently, brushing right after acidic exposure may actually lead to enamel thinning and deterioration. As an alternative, try to rinse your smile with water to limit the amount of time that acid is able to sit on your teeth.
As always, our Saint Louis dentists are here to give you all of the information you need about caring for your smile day to day, including how diet affects your oral health. Please give us a call to learn more and to schedule your personal consultation with our team!