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Food

Oral Cancer and Whole Foods Plant Based Diet
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37,000 people are diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer every year.  That’s more than 100 people per day. Only an estimated half of those diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer will be alive in five years.

Guess how many people die from oral cancer every single day.  24 (Source: American Cancer Foundation.)

Oral Cancer Prevention and a Plant Based DietGuess how many of those 24 people could have saved their lives by eating better and exercising.  8.

That’s nearly 3,000 people every year who could have lived longer had they only made a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes.

This article from the American Cancer Society’s Journal states, “Evidence suggests that one third of the more than 500,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year can be attributed to diet and physical activity habits, with another third due to cigarette smoking. Although genetic inheritance influences the risk of cancer, and cancer arises from genetic mutations in cells, most of the variation in cancer risk across populations and among individuals is due to factors that are not inherited. Behavioral factors such as smoking cigarettes, consuming foods along certain patterns of diet, and staying active across the lifespan can substantially affect one’s risk of developing cancer.”

Dietary Recommendations for the Prevention of Oral Cancer

Last week I was doing an externship at a rural dental clinic.  During some down time, I picked up a copy of the February 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.  The article Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer really caught my eye.  My dad passed away from cancer when I was 17.  I’ve always been worried that someday I would end up with cancer too, so the prevention of cancer is something that interests me.

The authors concluded that swapping your regular American diet for a plant-based diet with more whole foods can go a long way in lowering your risk for oral cancer.  They state the following:

Evidence supports a recommendation of a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a whole-foods, plant-based diet, with limited consumption of meat, particularly processed meat. However, use of dietary supplements (including vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds) in the absence of deficiencies has not been shown to confer the same benefits as those of fruits and vegetables, and patients should not use them as a substitute for fruit and vegetable consumption.

The 2011 Cancer Prevention & Early Detection PDF Booklet from the American Cancer Society contains the following recommendations on page 17 that seem to echo the findings above.  The booklet includes these suggestions:

  • Consume a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant sources.
  • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains in preference to processed (refined) grains.
  • Limit consumption of processed and red meats.
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, if you drink them. (Have no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 per day for men.)

In 2002, researchers looked at many of the different studies relating diet and oral cancer.  They published their results in this paper.  Here’s an excerpt of their findings:

On the basis of the findings from the listed studies, there is enough evidence to point to a preventive role of vegetable intake, including green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and yellow vegetables, total fruit intake, and citrus fruit intake in oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal cancer development. Yellow fruits are likely to be protective. Carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E are protective, most likely in combination with each other and other micronutrients. The role of vitamin A is not clear because of conflicting findings in the studies reviewed.

These three sources all seem to agree that foods from plant sources have a preventive effect on the development of oral cancer.  However, there are some foods that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

What Foods Increase the Risk of Oral Cancer?

Here’s another quote from the article Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer that I referenced above:

Researchers have found that consumption of salted meat, processed meat and animal fat increases the risk of developing oral cancer. The results of a study conducted by Peters and colleagues showed that high consumption of dairy products is a risk factor for head and neck squamous cell cancers.

Based on the study above, the following foods increase your risk of developing oral cancer:

  • Salted Meat
  • Processed Meat
  • Animal Fat
  • Dairy Products at a High Consumption Rate

Conclusion

In essence, foods that originate from plant sources help decrease your risk of oral cancer, and foods from animal sources increase your risk for developing oral cancer.

If your diet looks similar to foods below, you’re probably doing a good job of lowering your risk for developing oral cancer.

Plant Based Diet and Oral Cancer

If oral cancer can be prevented so easily, isn’t it worth it to make some subtle changes to your diet?

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about how your diet can affect your risk of developing oral cancer?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

10
Weapons of Plaque Destruction
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About five years ago, I was sitting in the first lecture of an Introduction to Dentistry class.  The professor, a local dentist, was talking about how plaque forms on our teeth and how it causes our teeth to decay.  Something clicked inside of me that day, and that lecture helped solidify my desire to become a dentist.

Weapons of Plaque DestructionI summarized that lecture in my first post ever on Oral Answers back in January 2010 entitled What Every Human Needs to Know About Plaque. If you haven’t read it and you’re curious about how tooth decay begins, you might want to take a look at it.

Because plaque can eventually cause you to lose your teeth, it is important to remove it and try to minimize its formation.  Here are 12 easy ways you can do that: The Top 12 Weapons of Plaque Destruction.

Top 12 Weapons of Plaque Destruction

Weapon #1 – Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth not only removes plaque, but some toothpastes also contain antimicrobials, such as Triclosan in Colgate Total. Toothpaste also contains abrasives which can help mechanically remove plaque from your teeth.

To find out what else is in toothpaste, read The 10 Main Ingredients In Your Toothpaste.

Weapon #2 – Flossing

Flossing helps remove plaque that is stuck between your teeth.  Cavities between teeth are so common that the two fillings required by the most popular dental board exam both have to include a cavity that is between two teeth.

Think you could use some tips on flossing?  Start by reviewing these 10 common flossing mistakes.

Weapon #3 – Fluoride

Fluoride has three different ways that it makes our teeth stronger and more resistant to the bad effects of plaque.  Fluoride is the only active ingredient in most toothpastes sold in the United States.  Fluoride is also added to many municipal water systems.  There is a strong, ongoing debate about whether or not it’s okay to add fluoride to everyone’s water.

Weapon #4 – Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that somehow helps fight plaque.  Xylitol is found in many chewing gums and you can also buy it in solid form from many health food stores or from Amazon.  Then you can use it to sweeten drinks like tea and coffee.

To learn more about this valuable plaque-fighting sugar alcohol read the article, Xylitol: What It Is and How It Protects Your Teeth.

Weapon #5 – Anti-Plaque Mouthwash

Many plaque-fighting mouthwashes contain ingredients such as cetylpyridinum chloride (CPC) which can kill the bacteria responsible for causing cavities.

Weapon #6 – Water

Drinking water or rinsing your mouth out with water after eating sugary foods can help wash away food that sticks around in your mouth. Since the bacteria live off the food you eat, you will be starving them by rinsing out your mouth.

Weapon #7 – Saliva

Saliva helps protect the teeth in many ways.  You can read about the six main ways that your spit protects your teeth in the post, How Saliva Protects Your Teeth.

If you suffer from dry mouth, you may be losing the war against plaque in your mouth.  Learn about six causes of dry mouth and 348 medications that can cause dry mouth.

Weapon #8 – Plaque Disclosing Tablets

If you don’t know where the plaque is, it’s hard to destroy it.  Plaque disclosing tablets work by coloring the plaque on your teeth so that you can make sure you’re removing it all when you brush and floss.

To learn more about plaque disclosing tablets, including the best places to buy them, read How Plaque Disclosing Tablets Can Help You Brush Better.

Weapon #9 – Chewing Gum

Chewing stimulates your salivary glands.  Some types of chewing gum are better than others.  Make sure you’re chewing the right type of gum for your oral health by reading about which of the three types of chewing gum is best for your teeth.

Weapon #10 – Your Tongue

Your tongue is a big weapon of plaque destruction.  Your tongue (with the help of your saliva – see weapon #7) can help clean sugary food off of your teeth so that you swallow it rather than letting it sit on your teeth and feed the plaque.

Weapon #11 – Certain Foods

Certain foods can actually help your teeth repair themselves after you eat a sugary snack.  Cheese contains phosphates and calcium that your saliva can utilize to help remineralize your teeth after they get “attacked” by the acid from plaque.  To appreciate this effect, you might want to read about what happens in your mouth every time you eat or drink.

Not sure what to eat for healthy teeth?  Learn about 16 delicious foods that you and your teeth will enjoy.

Weapon #12 – Sealants

Sealants are mainly used on children’s permanent molars.  Sealants are a strong plastic material that dentists can flow into the small grooves on the biting surfaces of your children’s teeth.  By covering up these grooves, you remove a nice, hard to brush place where plaque loves to hide.  Sealants are very effective at preventing tooth decay on the biting surface of molar teeth.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article gave you some good ideas about how you can help win the war against plaque in your mouth and help your teeth to live a long life.

Do you have any questions or anything you’d like to say about oral health or hygiene?  I’d love to hear your comments below, and I’ll try to personally respond to each one.  Thanks for reading!

1
New Year's Resolutions for Oral Health
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Dental New Years ResolutionsYou’ve probably made a lot of New Year’s resolutions in your life — but I’m willing to bet that you’ve never made a New Year’s resolution for your teeth!  Here are a few goals that will improve your oral health, as well as your overall health:

1 – Eat Healthier

I’ve written about food and drink more than 20 times on this blog.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally not harmful to your teeth whereas sugary, processed foods will probably cause you problems with your teeth if eaten frequently.  A healthy, well-balanced diet will not only help your teeth and gums, it will also improve your overall health by providing your body with vital nutrients and keeping your weight in a healthy range.

2 – Floss Every Day

As people age, the main reason that they lose their teeth isn’t because of cavities, it’s due to periodontal disease.  Flossing removes the plaque between your teeth that you simply can’t remove by brushing your teeth alone.  One of the most common reasons that my patients tell me they don’t floss is because it’s difficult.  Fortunately, there are many simple devices that can make flossing easier.  Here are a few products that have 5-star reviews on Amazon:

3 – Lose Weight

If you have some extra pounds to lose, you’re in good company — according to a recent poll, about 63% of American adults are either overweight or obese.  Unfortunately, being overweight puts you at risk for many diseases, including type II diabetes.  Type II diabetes has been shown to increase the risk of getting periodontal disease.

You can learn more about the link between diabetes and oral health at this oral health portal from the American Diabetes Association.

4 – Go to the Dentist

There are many reasons that people avoid going to the dentist.  The key is to figure out the reason that you’re not going.  Once you know why, it is easier to make a plan to get in for your dental checkup.

If you’re already going to the dentist every six months, then you are not only having regular cleanings and getting existing problems taken care of — your dentist will also be able to tell you if new problems are starting so you can prevent them.  Many people are unaware that they have dental problems until they become painful.  By that time, there if often little the dentist can do other than removing or filling the problem tooth.  By going in for regular checkups, you will be able to have these problems diagnosed early and treated.

What Do You Think?

Can you think of any other new years resolutions that will benefit your teeth?  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!

5
Eat Dessert First for Healthy Teeth
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Remember how your parents always made you eat your vegetables first before you could eat your dessert?  That may not have been the best thing for your teeth.

Here’s a story to illustrate this point:

Eat Dessert First for Better TeethLet’s say you go out to the Olive Garden for some great Italian food.  After dinner, you order some Black Tie Chocolate Mousse Cake.  As you eat the cake, the crust gets packed down into the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth and some might even get stuck in between your teeth.  Depending on how much saliva you have — and you might not have very much —  it could take over half an hour to wash away this sugary treat from your mouth!  That means that your teeth could be exposed to harmful substances and their byproducts for over an hour.

Click here to see a graph of what happens to your teeth every time you eat.

Now, suppose you had the cake first, and then ate a salad.  The chewing action of the lettuce leaves would easily be able to wash away the cake, and your mouth would be free from the high concentration of sugar much more quickly.  This is one reason that dental experts recommend eating sugar with meals.  It’s also why I wrote about how it’s better to drink soda pop when you eat a meal.

Do You Need to Eat Dessert First for Healthy Teeth?

CakeNo, you don’t need to eat dessert before your regular meal and there are reasons not to, such as the possibility of spoiling your dinner.  If you don’t want to eat dessert first, you might try drinking some water or anything non-sugary to get that sugar off of your teeth.

I realize that one of the main reasons people choose to have dessert after their dinner is to avoid filling up on empty calories or overeating something that should be eaten in small quantities.  These are both excellent reasons to wait on dessert, or even skip it altogether.  After all, there are health risks associated with being overweight and eating the wrong types of foods as well.  So, if you prefer to eat your dessert after dinner, you could always select a healthier dessert that won’t cause sugar to hang around in your mouth for a long time, such as fresh fruit.  You could also eat something that would aid in mechanically removing the dessert from your teeth, such as cheese or one of these foods.

Conclusion

You don’t necessarily need to eat dessert first.  My point in writing this was to let you know that what matters for your teeth is the order in which you eat your food.  If you eat sugar, it’s a good idea to wash it away with some other food rather than letting it sit on your teeth.

As I was writing this, my wife came up to the computer and said “Another one on food!?”

Looking back through the Food & Drink category, I realize that I probably have written a lot about how food affects your teeth.  What can I say… I like food.  In order to keep this blog more exciting, I’ll be moving on to other dental topics.  If you have any ideas for future articles, feel free to let me know.

Thanks for reading!

3
What Happens In Your Mouth Every Time You Eat or Drink
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Did you know that you are the life of the party?  Every time you eat fermentable carbohydrates, millions of bacteria in your mouth shout for joy as they snack on the food that you are eating.

Young Woman Eating PizzaThere’s just one small problem: after they’re done eating, they need to use the restroom.  Since there’s no toilet in your mouth, they just go on your teeth.  All of this acidic waste can start to dissolve your teeth.  Luckily, our saliva protects our teeth by gradually clearing out the acid and laying down new calcium to repair the patches of teeth that got dissolved.

The Stephan Curve: A Graphical View of What Happens In Your Mouth

It can be hard to visualize what exactly happens in your mouth every time you eat or drink.  To make it easier to visualize, the Stephan Curve was invented.

Below, you’ll find a Stephan Curve that shows what would happen in someone’s mouth who eats three meals a day and then a snack between lunch and dinner, and some cookies after dinner.

Stephan Curve

Before I talk about what this Stephen Curve is showing, here are some quick facts that will help you understand the above graph:

  • pH is a measure of how acidic something is.  The more acidic something is, the lower the pH, and the more harmful it is to our teeth.
  • The pH of our spit is usually right around 7.1.  This is slightly basic (as opposed to acidic.)  At this pH our teeth are safe, happy, and healthy.
  • When we eat carbohydrates or sugars, the plaque on our teeth munch on them as well and produce an acidic by-product.  This acid lowers the pH in our mouth.
  • If the pH drops below 5.5, our teeth start dissolving.

What Happened In the Above Stephen Curve

The Stephen Curve above shows a 24 hour period for someone who ate or drank five times:

  • 7 AM – Breakfast
  • 12 PM – Lunch
  • 2 PM – Soda Pop – Luckily it was just root beer.  Had it been a much more acidic soda, the line on the graph could have gone down to a pH below 3.
  • 6 PM – Dinner
  • 9 PM – Oreo cookies – This person started snacking on cookies at 9 PM.  Finally, at 9:30 PM, they stopped eating the cookies and gave their saliva a chance to rinse away all of the sugar and neutralize the acid in their mouth.

In total, this person allowed his teeth to dissolve for two hours during the day.  That still gave him 22 hours where his saliva could repair the damage that was done.  There thousands of things that could have happened to affect this Stephan curve.  What if, instead of eating ten Oreos from 9-9:30 had eaten one Oreo every hour from noon until 10 PM.  He would have created ten different episodes where his teeth were dissolving.  If he kept that up, he’d soon be visiting the dentist to take care of some cavities!

Your Stephan Curve Is Different

Your Stephan curve probably looks similar to the one above, but it is probably slightly different.  The way your Stephan curve looks depends on many factors such as:

1 – How often you eat during the day.  Each time you eat fermentable carbohydrates, your pH can drop into the area where teeth start dissolving.  If you eat enough times during the day, you’ll start to permanently destroy part of your tooth.  This is called a cavity.

2 – Type of foods you eat.  If you snack on foods that are healthy for your teeth, you are much less likely to dissolve your teeth by creating an acidic environment in your mouth.  For example, if you were to eat some cheese, the probably wouldn’t drop much below 7, giving your teeth something to smile about!  If you drink Coca-Cola, which is a very acidic drink, you will immediately drop the pH in your mouth and it will stay down there due to the sugar in Coke.

3 – Consistency of food.  If you drink some fruit punch, your saliva can quickly rinse the sugar away and return the pH of your mouth to normal.  However, if you eat Oreo cookies, it will take longer because the Oreos can get stuck up in the grooves on the chewing surface of your teeth.  As long as the Oreo stays stuck in your teeth, it will be feeding the bacteria and they’ll create acid that will dissolve your teeth.

4 – Your oral hygiene.  If you never brush, the bacteria can create a thick layer of plaque on your teeth.  Since it’s hard for your saliva to neutralize acid through a thick layer of plaque, you’ll spend a lot more time below a pH of 5.5 if you don’t brush your teeth everyday to remove the plaque.

5 – How much saliva you have.  If you don’t have much saliva, the sugar will stick around in your mouth longer because it won’t get rinsed away.  People with dry mouth get more cavities for this one reason.  If you find that your mouth is dry all of the time, here’s some things that may be causing your dry mouth.

Conclusion

Every time you eat something with fermentable carbohydrates, you feed the bacteria in your mouth.  This causes them to produce acid which dissolves your teeth.  Eventually, your body can restore order to your mouth by rinsing away the acid with saliva.  After the acid is rinsed away, your saliva repairs your teeth.  However, if you keep dropping the pH below 5.5, your saliva might not have enough time to repair your teeth and you could get a cavity.  The Stephan Curve is simply a graph that illustrates the pH in your mouth.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below in the comments.  Also, if you know anything about the history of the Stephan Curve or who Stephan is, let me know.  I have tried to learn about the history of the Stephan curve, but I remain clueless.  Thanks for reading!

7
Do Fibrous Foods Clean Teeth?
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The internet is filled with what I like to call “Dental Pollution.” There are a lot of half-truths and myths about oral health. One of the reasons that I started Oral Answers was to provide facts and truths about dentistry to those that have unanswered questions about their oral and dental health.

Apples - Can they Clean Your Teeth?To dispel these myths, I have created a tag on this blog called Dental Myths.  Every time I set the record straight on a dental myth, I will apply the Dental Myths tag so you can easily find these myth-busting articles.

A common dental myth is that fibrous foods like apples, celery, carrots, lettuce, peppers, and many other raw foods can clean your teeth.

This belief has caused more than a few people, I’m sure, to rationalize their lack of oral hygiene, saying that they can simply “eat their way to cleaner teeth.”

The truth of the matter is that fibrous foods do not clean teeth.

Fibrous Foods Do Not Clean Teeth

In the book, Essentials of Dental Caries by Kidd it states the following about the effect fibrous foods have on teeth:

Health foods are very fashionable nowadays; it has been suggested that fibrous foods such as apples and carrots ‘clean’ teeth, thus removing plaque and preventing caries.  Although fibrous foods are preferable to a sucrose snack, there is no evidence that they can ‘clean’ the teeth.

Fibrous foods simply can’t do the same hard work that the bristles on your toothbrush do every day.

Fibrous Foods Are Good for You

This doesn’t mean that fibrous foods aren’t good for you.  They are great for your body (especially your digestive system), and good for your teeth.  Think about it — if your choice is between an apple, or an apple-flavored Jolly Rancher,  then definitely pick the apple!

Conclusion

As beneficial as fibrous foods are for you, they cannot actually clean your teeth; the only thing at your house that can do that is your toothbrush and some dental floss!

Are there other facts or claims you have heard about oral health that make you wonder or seem unclear?  Leave them below in the comments and I will clear them up for you.

Thanks for reading!

4
Foods that are Good for Your Teeth
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It seems that dentists and dental hygienists have a bad reputation for naming off a bunch of foods that aren’t very good for your teeth.

Well… to get rid of that reputation, I’ve decided to do the opposite.  Here’s a list of 16 snacks that you’ll enjoy almost as much as your teeth will:

List of Foods that Are Good for Your Teeth

Fruit Can Be Good for Your Teeth1 – Whole Wheat Bread – The rise of processed starchy foods over the past few decades has no doubt caused many cavities.  White bread with added sugar seems to now be a staple in many homes.  Rather than reaching for something with lots of added sugar to get your carbohydrates, try some whole wheat bread – your teeth and your body will thank you.  My wife makes this whole wheat bread recipe – it tastes pretty good, too.

2 – Fresh Vegetables – Celery, Carrots, Radishes, Cucumbers, Broccoli, and the list could go on!   Fibrous foods, like vegetables are able to stimulate the salivary glands to release lots of saliva, which in turn protects the teeth.  Vegetables also don’t have as much sugar as fruits.  An easy way to that we have found to add vegetables to our diet is by mixing some together in a salad.  Our favorite is cucumber tomato salad.

Watermelon Helps Clean Your Teeth As You Eat It!3 – Fresh Fruit – Yes, fruit does have sugar, but it also provides valuable nutrients for the body.  Fresh fruit is a great choice because it is also fibrous, which makes it takes longer to chew, which releases more saliva which helps your teeth.  This makes it a good match for a healthy mouth in spite of the sugars it contains.  Canned fruit is also good, just make sure that it’s not soaking in a sugary syrup.  If it has added sugar, it might be doing more harm than good.

For more info on fruit and oral health, read the article Is Fruit Good or Bad for Your Teeth?

4 – Plain Yogurt with Fruit – Most of the brands of yogurt at the store seem to think that when you add fruit to pure yogurt, you need to add a few teaspoons of sugar to make it taste good.  Try making your own fruit-flavored yogurt by adding fruit to plain yogurt.

5 – Cottage Cheese with Fresh Peaches or Pears – I’ll be honest.  This used to gross me out just thinking about it…  It may not sound too appetizing to you, either.  But, I have to say that after trying it, it’s a pretty good snack.  Try it — you might just like it, but maybe not as much as your teeth will.

Cheese Neutralizes Acids and Provides Valuable Nutrients For Your Teeth6 – Cheese – Cheese is great for your teeth since it contains calcium, and phosphates.  It also neutralizes harmful acid created by the plaque in your mouth.  There are even little snack-sized 100 calorie packs of delicious cheese that you can take with you wherever you go!

7 – Soups – Chicken soups in the winter warm you up and make your teeth happy! A warning –  Be careful with certain soups such as stews and tomato soups that contain lots of sugar.

Popcorn is Great for Your Teeth!8 – Nuts -Nuts are a great source of nutrition that won’t harm your teeth.  Peanuts are a great choice.  Watch out for peanut butter, as it can contain a lot of added sugar.  Just make sure that you don’t crack the shells with your teeth!

9 – Popcorn – Popcorn is a great food for snacking on.  It beats out all of the other snacks such as potato chips and cheese puffs because it’s not made of refined starch.  Just be sure to floss after you eat it or your dental hygienist may find some popcorn remains in your mouth at your next checkup.  It happened to me when I was a teenager.  She asked me if I’d had popcorn recently.  I said, “I think so.”  That turned out to be the right answer.

Cows Can Help Our Teeth
Cows give us milk and cheese. Both help our teeth.

10 – Milk – Cow’s milk has three key substances: calcium, phosphorus, and casein.  All of those are believed to prevent cavities.  Many different studies have even shown that after drinking milk, the bacteria on your teeth don’t really do any harm to your teeth.  Here’s one such study, and another one.

11 – Hard Boiled Eggs – They are extremely portable and even come in a natural hard package.  Mix things up and make it a deviled egg – just don’t add sugar.

12 – Meats such as turkey and chicken.  Better yet, add it to some whole wheat bread and make a sandwich that will delight your incisors.  Some processed lunch meats can contain a lot of added sugar, so be careful when shopping.

Sunflower Seeds Are Great for Your Teeth!13 – Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  Make your own when you carve pumpkins this Halloween or buy some at the store.  If you buy seeds pre-packaged, just check out the ingredients first to ensure that they aren’t sugar-laden.

14 – Smoothies made from milk, fresh fruit, and/or yogurt – This is a great treat that does have some sugar in it, but it’s much better to get your sugar from milk and fresh fruit than it is to get it from sticky candy such as caramel, jelly beans, sour patch kids, or toffee.

Trident Gum Contains Xylitol - Good for Your Teeth!15 – Sugar-free chewing gum – Sugar-free chewing gum is a great way to promote salivary flow in your mouth.  Saliva can washes away food, neutralizes acid in the mouth, and can repair damaged teeth.  If you can’t brush after you eat, try chewing a piece of gum.  Some gums, such as this Trident gum contain xylitol, which is a sugar-alcohol that can actually kill the bacteria that ruin your teeth.

16 – Sugar-free candy – Sugar-free candy also promotes salivary flow in the mouth.  Sucking on sugar-free candy is much better than bathing all of your teeth in a hard-candy sugar bath for 15-20 minutes at a time.

What Other Tooth-Friendly Foods Can You Think Of?

I’m sure I missed some.  Are there any snacks that you like to eat that don’t hurt your teeth?  Let us all know about them in the comments section below!