Senior Eating Habits for Healthy Teeth

acrylic tooth and man

Choosing eating habits for healthy teeth has an impact on your overall health. So for seniors, who may want to avoid dentures, this is an especially wise thing to do. What should you do? In general, you should be choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins like turkey, chicken and fish. What shouldn’t you do? Don’t eat processed foods and beverages that are high in sugar – they can lead to tooth decay and obesity. But there’s more to learn.

Avoid Sugar

The first eating habit for healthy teeth that you want is to cut down on sugar. All sugars can cause decay. Sugar can come in many forms. Watch out for ingredients ending in ‘ose.’ Sucrose, fructose and glucose are all types of sugar and can cause tooth decay.  Many processed foods have sugar in them, and the higher up it appears in the list of ingredients, the more sugar there is in the product. “No added sugar’ means no added sugar. It does not necessarily mean that the product is sugar free. Products with these words printed on them may contain the sugars we listed above.

Watch out for Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can erode enamel and this will make your teeth more susceptible to decay over the years. You can enjoy a slice of lemon in your water, but don’t turn it into a habit. Instead, go for plain water. Here are some acidic foods you want to limit: lager, citrus juices, pickles and red wine.

Snacking for Healthy Teeth

It is better for your teeth and general health if you eat 3 meals a day instead of having 7 to 10 snacks. If you do need to snack between meals, choose foods that do not contain sugar. Watch out for sticky dried fruit. Not only is it high in sugar, it can stick to your teeth and encourage tooth decay. Head for the savory snacks like cheese, carrot sticks and nuts.

Watch out for Crunchy Foods

Chewing on hard things can harm your teeth. You may break or chip a tooth. Watch out for ice too. Ice may not have sugar or acid, but it’s too hard to be a good snack. Stick to water.

Eat Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium is especially important as we get older because it helps to prevent bone loss or osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can happen in the jaw bone too. This will lead to your teeth becoming loose or falling out. Health care professionals recommend most adults get about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Try to avoid supplements and get your calcium from foods such as low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt. For vegetables try leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. Broccoli is also a good choice. Watch out for calcium supplements. In a recent study, people who got their calcium almost exclusively from supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who took no supplements.

A Word About Brushing

It is important to brush last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. Try to use a toothpaste containing  fluoride. Don’t brush right after eating as this cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. You should wait about an hour. It is especially important to brush before bed. This is because the flow of saliva, which is the mouth’s own cleaning system, slows down during the night and this leaves the mouth more at risk from decay.