Eating healthy helps keep teeth healthy

March 1, 2013 at 11:53 PM

CHICAGO, March 1 (UPI) -- Most people don't know the plaque on teeth contain bacteria that can cause cavities, U.S. dentists say.

The American Dental Association said the bacteria feed on sugar, releasing acid that attacks the teeth, and sugary foods and beverages provide an all-day buffet for these cavity creators.

The ADA said to keep teeth healthy:

-- Train taste buds to enjoy healthy fare such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.

-- Don't sip all day. Even seemingly innocent fruit juice over extended periods creates an environment where the teeth are constantly attacked by acid. Sipping fluoridated water is best for the teeth. If drinking a soda, have it with a meal.

-- Get saliva flowing. Chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, so if chewing sugarless gum after a meal, the increased salivary flow can help prevent cavities by neutralizing and washing away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth.

-- Eating calcium-rich foods such as cheese, leafy greens and almonds that are good for the teeth. Protein-rich foods such as meat, eggs and fish are good sources of phosphorus. Both minerals can help rebuild tooth enamel and bone.

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