“You are what you eat.” How many of us have heard this saying? We hear it so often because it really is true, especially when it comes to your teeth and gums.

You want what you eat to feed a healthy mouth—not bacteria and plaque—but it can be confusing to know for sure what foods are actually helpful or harmful. To help, Oakwood Dental Arts NC–a dentist office in Hickory, NC–has created a list of the best and worst foods for your teeth.

The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

If you have problems with tooth decay, you may want to avoid the following foods:

  • Sticky candies, including lollipops and caramels, which can stick to your teeth and increase chances of decay
  • Starchy foods such as bread or potato chips that can easily get trapped in between teeth
  • Soft drinks because they wear away your enamel
  • Alcohol because it feeds bacteria and plaque

The Best Foods for Your Teeth

Increase these foods for a healthier mouth:

  • Fruits and vegetables, especially those that are fiber rich, because they help decrease plaque
  • Dairy, especially the calcium found in cheese can help protect teeth from decay
  • Green and black teas containing antioxidants that refresh the mouth
  • Fluoride rich water, typically found in tap water, strengthens the teeth to protect against bacteria

The Chocolate Debate

It is debated whether or not chocolate hurts or helps your teeth. Some studies have found that chocolate can help prevent decay, but findings are not consistent. Either way, dark chocolate does seem to be a better choice of food than any other sticky or sugary candies. It contains antioxidants that can lower bacteria as well.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment at our dentist office in Hickory, NC, please contact Oakwood Dental Arts NC at 828-324-6235 or email Dr. Kyle McKinney at mckinneydds@OakwoodDentalArtsNC.com.