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Healthy Diet Choices and Ideas for All
To prevent cavities and maintain good oral health, be mindful of what you eat and how often you eat.

Changes in your mouth start the minute you eat certain foods. Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars and carbohydrates from the foods you eat to acids, and it's the acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the tooth decay process. The more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you are exposing your teeth to the cycle of decay.

Mouth-Healthy Foods and Drinks

Milk, cheese, meats and nuts are great food choices for healthy teeth. They have a mouth healthy PH level that protects teeth from issues like acid erosion and decay. Other foods include firm or crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables. These foods have a high water content (which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain, and stimulate the flow of saliva which helps protect against decay by washing away food particles and buffering acid). Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid from them.

Poor food choices like candy such as lollipops, hard candies, and mints, cookies, cakes, pies, breads, muffins, potato chips, pretzels, french fries, bananas, raisins, and dried fruits. These foods contain large amounts of sugar and/or can stick to teeth, providing a fuel source for bacteria and contribute to tooth decay.

The best beverage choices include water (especially fluoridated water), milk. Limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, lemonade, and coffee or tea and sports drinks with added sugar (e.g. Gatorade). Also, avoid day-long sipping of sugar-containing or highly acidic drinks all day long, sipping exposes your teeth to constant sugar and, in turn, constant decay-causing acids.

Sara Agnew