5 Tips for Healthy Teeth

Good afternoon and happy Friday! This weekend I have absolutely NOTHING planned for the first time in months and I could not be happier.

I wanted to share some healthy tooth tips since I have been getting a lot of dental work done lately (I’d been putting it off for a long time – bad idea, don’t put it off!).

1. Get regular cleanings & checkups. This is probably the most important because if you do have an issue you can catch it early and get it taken care of. Also, if you know you are going to the dentist every 6 months you may be more inclined to take care of your teeth because you don’t want your dentist yelling at you. Please don’t be scared – it’s really not as bad as you think it is, even if you have cavities. You’ll feel so much better when you know your teeth are all fixed up and in good health.

2. BRUSH & FLOSS after meals if the food gets easily stuck in your teeth – think chewy foods that you really use your molars for (worst offenders for this in my experience – sweets, fruits, breads & grains). Make sure you are brushing so that the brush gets in between the teeth as much as possible (kind of like sweeping from the bottom of the tooth up to the top – if that makes sense).

rolling-brushing-teeth

(Kinda like this – Source)

3. Don’t snack frequently (especially on sugary stuff – even fruit!). The most common cause of tooth decay (aka cavities) is from acid that dissolves the tooth enamel. This acid comes from the breakdown of refined sugars by bacteria.

The output of this breakdown is acid –> enamel erosion –> cavities. (Going back to #1 – it’s really important to remove plaque because plaque is just a sticky deposit on your teeth made up of bacteria, food, and other debris. It causes cavities.)

Studies show that how often you have sugars in your mouth is much more predictive of your dental health than how much sugar you have. This means that the person who eats 5 apples slowly throughout the day is in worse shape than the person who quickly eats 5 apples in 10 minutes (god knows why this person is eating 5 apples in one day, but it gets the point across).

3-apple-peanut-butter

(Apples! Good – in moderation.)

Worst offenders – sticky foods like caramel, gummies, jams and jellies. These stay on your teeth even after you stop eating them. Surprisingly, chocolate is not necessarily so bad because the sugars are coated in fat and they leave the mouth quickly. (Not the case though if you see chocolate sticking in your molars – brush that stuff out!) Bottom line – if you’re snacking throughout the day on sugary foods or soda (even diet soda – it’s acidic) – your teeth are under under attack from acid.

4. Eat for healthy bones. Your teeth, even though it may not seem like it, are living parts of your body. They are very much like bones. If you are not eating enough, you could be at risk for osteopenia/osteoporosis. These conditions can not only cause weakened bones, but also weakened teeth. The weaker the teeth, the more susceptible to decay. Not eating enough can also decrease saliva production which is another potential cause of tooth decay.

5. Good foods for healthy teeth are: fiber-ful veggies, unsweetened full-fat dairy products (milk, cheese – cheese also makes you produce more saliva which is good for the mouth), green and black tea (polyphenols kill/minimize bad bacteria), meats, and nuts. (Hey this sounds like the paleo diet doesn’t it?)

Great PDF I found while researching: Dental Tips by Delta Dental.

Do you have healthy teeth? What are your healthy teeth tips?

Knowing When to Stop (Eating)

I am never really sure what I want this blog to be about. You could say I’m a flip-flopper…

(Source.)

So: it’s time to stop flipping and flopping (or at least flip and flop decisively), because I think I know what my blog is all about. It’s about how I learned (and am still learning) to eat intuitively, and how those principles spill over into the rest of my life (for example, yoga and intuitive eating go hand in hand – just wait for a post on that).

Speaking of Knowing When to Stop… How do you know when to stop eating? Is it really as simple as knowing when you are full? My guess is NO.

Now that is a big bed meal. (Source.)

Some people “save” lots of calories during the day so that they can have a big dinner or snack a lot after dinner. This can be unpleasant though (stomachache, indigestion, etc…), and can lead to a vicious cycle of a poor night’s sleep, feeling sick the next day, and repeating it all over again.

How can you end the cycle? Here are some tactics…

Dessert for Dinner, or: Eat What You Love and Be Satisfied

Last night I was on my own for dinner. My husband (I can’t stop saying that!) was at a work event until late so I was alone for the evening. Normally this might be a tricky situation – when I’m alone I’m more likely to snack out of boredom.

(Source.)

Trick one: know yourself. I’m a girl who can’t go without dessert. Ever. I cannot remember that last time I didn’t have dessert. I also know that once I have dessert it can turn into a snackfest. My belly and my head are not satisfied with a piece of fruit for dinner. Maybe your weakness is potato chips, or cereal. Whatever it is, make a note of it. Then…

Trick two: trick yourself. I may like dessert, but I am not okay with having Rocky Road for dinner. So what is a good substitute? Breakfast foods are usually desserty enough for me. French Toast in particular is comforting, delicious, and sweet enough to satisfy my dessert tooth. If you love your potato chips, portion out a serving (1 serving) to have with your dinner. If you don’t want it with a meal, you probably shouldn’t have it while watching TV anyway.

Trick three: indulge (just a little). I put tart frozen yogurt (from Trader Joe’s) on top of my dessert for dinner French Toast. If I didn’t do that I would probably want to eat frozen yogurt after dinner anyway. Again with the potato chips – why not get some really delicious potato chips (I like Terra Chips) so that you really enjoy your treat.

Trick four: Stop. (Okay, that’s not a trick, that just the end result – hopefully.) I loved this meal. So much so that I didn’t need to eat anything the rest of the night. Hopefully if you had the chips with dinner you won’t want them the rest of the night either.

My Easy Peasy (Healthy) French Toast For One Recipe. Check it out if you want a low calorie but filling and healthy meal. I think it has about 300 calories total depending on your bread and toppings.

Good reads:

  • Brian Wansink discusses the French paradox (they eat lots of fatty things yet are – on average – thinner, healthier, and live longer than Americans).
  • I think I linked here before, but I really really like Honoring Health – it’s an intuitive eating blog, and Christie (the author) is very inspiring. Plus, she is helping me figure out how to organize my recipes!

Have you ever had dessert for dinner? What foods are really satisfying for you?