Did you know that good oral health is linked to your diet? Dr. Norma Chou in Toronto says that to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health examine your diet: what you eat and how often you eat are important factors. Dr. Chou says that 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 decay process. Dr. Chou warns that the more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you are exposing your teeth to the cycle of decay or cavities.

Dr. Chou recommends certain foods that will keep your mouth healthy. Some of the best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids). Just remember to cut meat off the bone and to avoid really large fir nuts like Brazil nuts if you are wearing orthodontic “braces”.

Other food choices that Dr. Chou includes are firm/crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables. Dr. Chou tells us that 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). All of these food items should be readily available in or near Toronto. They should, however, be cut into bite-sized pieces to avoid damaging your “braces” or hurting teeth that may be sore from tooth movement. Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid from them.

Dr. Chou says that it is common sense that some poor food choices include candy — such as lollipops, hard candies, and mints — cookies, cakes, pies, breads, muffins, potato chips, pretzels, french fries, bananas, raisins, and other dried fruits when you cannot brush your teeth right after eating them. Dr. Chou warns that these foods contain large amounts of sugar and/or can stick to teeth, providing a fuel source for bacteria. In addition, cough drops should be used only when necessary as they, like sugary candy, contribute to tooth decay. If you chew gum, be sure to chew sugarless gum, However, if you wear “braces”, gum chewing is not advised.

If you are looking for good beverage choices, the best choice is water (especially fluoridated water). Dr. Chou says that milk (not chocolate milk) and unsweetened tea are also good but limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, lemonade, energy drinks and coffee or tea with added sugar. Rinsing with clean water after drinking them will help to limit the exposure of sugary substances to your teeth.

The team at Dr. Norma Chou’s office is always available to answer questions regarding your oral health. Contact us at our Toronto office at to get oral advice. We work hard to give you the best smile!

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