4. Eat a Balanced Diet
The ADA encourages patients to eat a tooth-friendly, balanced diet, limiting sugar intake. While sugars are necessary for proper body functions, they also feed the bacteria in the mouth, resulting in acid production. This acid production is responsible for erosion and tooth weakening.
Choose foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy options for general oral health. The ADA also lists several foods that are among the most damaging to teeth:
- Acidic citrus foods
- Sugary coffee drinks
- Sticky, hard candies or dried fruit
- Crunchy foods that retain plaque
- Sodas and sports drinks
The ADA recommends drinking plenty of water throughout the day, too, not only to stay hydrated, but to rinse residual food debris and acids from the surface of the enamel. Saliva is also critical to helping you wash away food particles and acids from your mouth. Your mouth actually releases less saliva during snacking compared with when you eat a meal, which is why the ADA recommends limiting your snacking.