Proper brushing is of utmost importance when maintaining a healthy oral environment, but proper nutrition should not be underestimated.

Eating foods such as apples, celery and carrots can help remove plaque. If you do eat sweets or foods containing sugar, immediately brush after eating the sweets. This will help prevent cavities. Sweets are less harmful to teeth if eaten with a main meal, rather than between meals, and table sugar is more harmful to teeth than sugars that occur naturally in fruits and milk.

Food choices that are more nutritious for teeth include the following, fruits, vegetables,  berries, carrots, nuts, tomatoes, yogurt, chicken, eggs, melons, turkey, salad, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, pears, cereal (that is not high in sugar), sunflower seeds, popcorn, oranges, pizza, tacos, cheese, celery and sugar free gum/soda.

Food choices that cause tooth decay include the following: candy, mints, sticky foods like jelly beans or caramels, fruit juice, sugary drinks (like soda, sport drinks sweet tea and sweetened juice), cake, cookies, cough drops, doughnuts, gum, honey, jams, jellies, molasses, pies, popsicles, syrup and table sugar. Also you should consider that many foods can become stuck in our teeth when we eat and that can help cause tooth decay too.

Foods, such as bread, cereals, pasta, crackers, and potato chips, if left in the mouth for long periods of time can cause tooth decay. If you do not brush your teeth after eating these types of things, the bacteria that live in your mouth breaks the food down into sugars and then the sugars create cavities and tooth decay.  This is why it is so important to eat a well balanced diet, eat sugary substances only on occasion and with a meal, rather than as a snack and immediately brush teeth after eating sugary substances to cut down the risk of developing a cavity.

Remember the next time you reach for a snack, pick a food that is low in sugar and low in fat. Your teeth and your body will thank you.