A man brushing his teeth with his son Keeping your teeth strong and healthy should involve more than just brushing and flossing daily. While these two habits are important, you should also mind your diet. Note that your food choices and the way you eat can affect your oral health and how your smile looks.

Scott W. Grant, DMD and other Meridian dental care experts share how you can eat for your mouth, teeth, and gums:

Eat a Healthy Diet.

Foods high in vitamin D and calcium can strengthen your teeth and rebuild the enamel. Don’t forget to eat foods high in antioxidants and other nutrients present in fruits and vegetables. These will help improve your body’s ability to fight infection and inflammation, which can protect your teeth gums.

Avoid Cavity-Causing Foods.

Steer clear from foods and beverages that can harm your teeth such as candies, soda, and cookies. You should also avoid acidic choices such as wine, fruit juices, energy drinks, and citrus fruits. Excessive consumption softens and wears away your enamel, causing teeth discoloration and sensitivity.

Mind How You Eat.

Allowing sugary and acidic foods to sit longer in your mouth can damage your teeth. This happens if you sip a flavored beverage throughout the day or eat foods that take too long to chew or consume. This increases the sugar’s contact in your teeth, increasing your risk for cavity and enamel erosion. If you want to eat desserts or snacks, only do so during meal times to minimize acid attack.

Drink Fluoridated Water.

Water is the best beverage for your teeth and overall health, as it contains no sugar and calories. Fluoride, on the other hand, helps rebuild minerals in the enamel and protect your teeth from decay. It is important to drink fluoridated water daily, especially at times when you are not able to brush your teeth.

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Chew Sugar-Free Gum.

Chewing helps stimulate saliva production, which can clean your teeth and neutralize acids in the mouth. It is best to choose a xylitol-sweetened gum, as this slows the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.

Mind your food choices and diet to protect your oral health. Don’t forget to keep up with proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

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