Posted .

Candy A poor diet can be the cause of pudgy gut and jiggly thighs and affect your general health, but did you know that what you eat can also wreak havoc on your dental health? Getting regular cleanings at a center of cosmetic dentistry in Houston, TX, can help keep your mouth healthy, but you can also play a part in keeping your smile its healthiest between cleanings by eating the right foods and avoiding foods known to increase plaque buildup.

Everyone has bacteria in their mouth, and plaque build-up occurs naturally, especially when sugar is present on your teeth. The bacteria forms a sticky coating on your teeth, known as plaque; when it isn’t removed, it hardens, creating tartar. Both tartar and plaque are damaging to tooth enamel. Both also offer shelter for bacteria to hide, allowing the growth of additional plaque and tartar.

Brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting an office of advanced general dentistry in Houston, TX, can prevent buildup, but avoiding certain foods can also help.

Here are some foods to avoid:

Sticky Candy and Sweets

Oral bacteria feed on sugar, and especially sticky candies or sweets that stick to your teeth. This includes suckers and chewy treats like caramels. If you decide to indulge in a sticky sweet, you can mitigate some of the damage by brushing shortly after eating.

Experts recommend that if you’re going to eat sugary foods, you consume them as part of a meal rather than a snack. You produce saliva while you eat, which helps rinse some of the bacteria down the hatch.

Heavy Starches

Things like bread and chips can get caught between your teeth, and starch can have the same effect as sugar. Oral bacteria feeds on it.

If you can’t brush following a meal, chewing a stick of sugarless gum can help remove small pieces of starchy food that may have become trapped between your teeth. Chewing gum also increases saliva to rinse your mouth.

Sugary Drinks

Soda can be a double whammy. Most are loaded with sugar that coats your mouth, and some also have citric acids that can damage enamel.

Alcohol

Alcohol It isn’t the sugar in most alcohol that causes a problem; it’s that alcohol dries out your mouth. Saliva helps mitigate some of the damage caused by sugar, and alcohol (and some medications) lower the amount of saliva in your mouth.

For optimal health, the smartest beverage choice is water. A moist mouth keeps sticky plaque from sticking to your teeth and becoming tartar. As a bonus, most tap water in the U.S. is treated with fluoride, which prevents tooth decay.

Preventing some plaque buildup is virtually impossible because it’s a natural byproduct of the bacteria that live in your mouth. However, with proper diet and care, you can prevent some of the problems too much buildup can cause–like tartar and cavities.