Did you know that seasonal feasts and holidays treats can wreak havoc on your smile? While most people are worried about gaining weight this season, dentist Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, PC, gives us the scoop on what’s really bad to indulge in. Some are the ordinary plunges into debauchery… and some, you’d be suprised by! When your body is lacking in nutrients, it can show up on your tongue, gums and teeth — and within the roots of your mouth.
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- All foods have a pH level. Low-pH foods have high acid levels, and are known as acidifying, and higher-pH foods are alkalinizing or low in acid levels. The more acidifying your diet, the more loaded your mouth can get with harmful bacteria that can cause plaque and tooth decay. This season, opt for a diet rich in alkalinizing foods, and limit your intake of acidic foods. Adjust your diet to be comprised of 75% alkalinizing foods and 25% acidifying foods.
- Stick to â€œsmile-friendlyâ€ vegetables, such as beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes and green beans. Limit dishes prepared with potatoes, squash, and corn, which are known to be acidifying, and contribute to increased bacteria in the mouth.
- Got a sweet-tooth? Reach for fresh fruit, such as apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, peaches, strawberries, even dark chocolate, which are all alkalinizing. Avoid canned or glazed fruits, which can be acidifying and also high in sugar, which can lead to plaque build-up. Make an effort to substitute sugar and sugar alternatives with stevia (the only alkalinizing sweetener.)
- Eat almonds, flaxseed and pumpkin seeds, which are all healthy, alkalinizing nuts to enjoy. Limit your intake of cashews, peanuts, pecans and walnuts, as these nuts can be challenging for your teeth since they have high acid levels.
- Enjoy fresh and unsweetened fruit juices, regular and herbal teas, vegetable juices, and of course, plenty of water. Limit your alcohol intake and ditch the soda, which is one of the biggest offenders today for tooth decay.
- Always practice healthy basic oral hygiene â€“ brushing your teeth should be the first thing you do in the morning and last thing you do at night. Brush on average three times a day, and two minutes in length, floss every day and use an alcohol-free mouthwash.
To maintain a gorgeous, camera-ready smile, brush up on these holiday nutrition tips from Dr. Levineâ€™s latest book, Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty [$19 buy]