The Best Foods For Braces

Here at Grubaugh Orthodontics, we want to provide you with an orthodontic experience that’s positive, stress-free, and rewarding. That begins with your first visit and continues through your last one–and beyond! Choosing to improve your smile with braces is a big decision, and like any new experience, it can take a while to adjust. There are quite a few changes that come with orthodontic treatment, after all, particularly if you’re wearing braces. While most of these changes are relatively minor, a few take some getting used to, like food restrictions and eating the best foods for braces.   

The food restrictions that come with braces can be a pretty significant learning curve, but they’re necessary in order to protect your appliance during treatment. Although all the frustration is worth it once we remove your braces and reveal your new smile, we also want to help you make the most of your treatment between now and then! Below we’ll take a look at each of the basic food groups to see what’s orthodontist-approved and what you should be avoiding. Keep reading to learn more!

Vegetables

Vegetables provide us with vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health, and you should aim to consume 1-2 cups of them each day. Although they’re an important part of any healthy diet, the way you eat vegetables will change somewhat while you’re in braces.

Hard veggies like carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli are tough to bite into when they’re raw. Eating them this way can be tough to do with braces, and runs the risk of damaging or popping a bracket right off the tooth. If you want to eat raw vegetables, be sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces that can be chewed with your back teeth. 

Cooking, boiling, and steaming softens vegetables, so there’s no real limitations on cooked veggies! One exception is corn on the cob. The kernels should be removed from the cob before attempting to eat them. 

Fruit

Like vegetables, fruit is fundamental to good health, but how you choose to eat can be a challenge when you’re wearing braces. Hard fruit like apples are difficult to bite into, for example, thanks to the brackets on your teeth. Unripe pears and peaches that are still firm pose the same problem. If you want to eat raw fruit like this, cut them into bite-sized pieces and chew them thoroughly with the back teeth. 

Soft fruits are easy to eat at any stage of the orthodontic process! They can be especially useful after an adjustment appointment, when your teeth and gums may feel slightly sore. Bananas, blueberries, and strawberries are great choices for days when your mouth is tender.  

Grains

Grains provide us with fiber, iron, and many other important nutrients. They’re a pretty easy food group for braces patients since most grain products are very soft and easy to chew. There are a few exceptions, however! Steer clear of hard crusted bread, like bagels and french loaves, as these are hard to bite into with braces. While you can soften the bread by warming it, you should still break it into small pieces before consuming to keep your brackets safe.  

Unground whole grains can also be challenging for you because they can get stuck in between the brackets, attachments, and your teeth. These can be difficult to remove, so you should avoid all small seeds and whole grains until your treatment is complete. 

The Best Foods For Braces

Dairy

A diet rich in calcium helps keep your bones and teeth strong, and dairy products provide us with not only calcium, but also vitamin D, potassium, and even protein. Because most dairy products are soft and require very little chewing, they’re a great choice for patients in braces! 

Milk, cheese, and yogurt taste good and help meet your nutritional needs if your teeth and gums are sore or tender. If you’re lactose intolerant, there are now multiple plant-based options available that provide many of the same benefits. It’s worth noting that soft cheeses can sometimes get stuck between your brackets and wires. To avoid this, cut it into small pieces or purchase a cheese string product that can be easily peeled apart.

Meat, fish, and eggs

Meat supplies our bodies with protein and iron, but can pose a problem if you’re wearing braces. That’s because most meat is fibrous, which makes it difficult to vhew. Stringy meat can stick in the braces or between the teeth, and tough cuts can be so difficult to chew that they loosen the bands. Eating meat right from the bone, like chicken wings and ribs, is also a no-no as your run the risk of popping off a bracket.

When choosing meat, go for lean, tender cuts and make sure each piece is bite-sized. Remove meat from the bone before eating it, too. Your best options when it comes to meat are fish, chicken, and lean beef or pork. If you’re a vegetarian, you have options! Tofu is actually an excellent food, since it’s soft and has lots of nutrients, and eggs are a wonderful addition to any diet. Not only are they great for your body, but you can cook them in a variety of ways that are safe for braces.

Nuts and Seeds

In general, you’re going to want to avoid any raw nuts and seeds in order to keep your braces secure and fully functioning. Nuts and seeds are hard, and also very small, which are challenging aspects for anyone in braces. Biting down on a hard nut or seed can break a band or even a whole bracket! Nuts and seeds can also bend your wires, which can set your treatment plan back. If you really want to incorporate these into your diet, do so by choosing a spread like peanut or almond better. Carefully ground nuts and seeds can be used as a topping for oatmeal or yogurt. 

A note on candy

It’s definitely not a food group, but we all love it, anyway: CANDY. Unfortunately, the sweet stuff can be damaging to your braces, and to the surface of your teeth as well. Anything sticky can adhere to the brackets and bands, hard candy can break them off, and gummy candy can bend your wires or get stuck in your appliance. It’s best overall to avoid candy during treatment, especially since your teeth are more vulnerable to decay while you’re in braces. But if you really want to indulge, stick to soft chocolate bars in “fun” sizes. 

The Best Foods For Braces

Choosing a healthy, braces-friendly diet with Grubaugh Orthodontics

Eating with braces doesn’t have to be boring or a chore! Once you know what you can and can’t eat with braces, you can choose from a wide variety of braces-friendly foods. Remember, eating a healthy diet during orthodontic treatment is an important part of the treatment process, too! 

If you want more information on how to choose and prepare foods that are good for you and your braces, our team is always here to help. Get in touch with us today and let’s get started on giving you a smile you’ll want to share with everyone around you!

Top Tips For Going Back To School With Braces

Now that the summer’s almost over and kids are heading back to school, it’s the perfect time to talk about caring for braces inside the classroom and out. This is especially useful information for children and teens who are returning to school for the first time since starting orthodontic treatment. Just like any new adventure, traditional braces come with their own set of challenges, but Grubaugh Orthodontics is here to help make that transition a little easier! Keep reading below for a few of our top tips if you have a child heading back to school in braces.

Stay aware and prepared with a braces kit

All of our braces patients who are also students benefit from keeping a basic care kit in their purse, backpack, or locker. For those new to the treatment process, this kit can help them feel prepared and ready to handle any minor issues that might pop up during the school day. Some things we recommend including in the kit are:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • fluoride toothpaste
  • dental floss
  • orthodontic wax
  • lip balm
  • an unsharpened pencil

The items included in a braces kit can be helpful in a number of ways. Brackets and wires create nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and other debris, so we encourage brushing after lunch, with a quick floss added if there is time.

Occasional mild irritation inside the lips, cheeks, and along the gum line isn’t unusual for braces patients.  A pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax placed over the area causing problems can be an excellent way to reduce irritation and find some relief.

If a wire comes loose and is poking the gums or cheek, the eraser end of a pencil can be used to nudge them back into place. Orthodontic wax can then be placed over the area for further stability.

Braces will often cause or exacerbate lip dryness. For this reason, we view chapstick or lip balm as a must-have accessory for braces patients all year long.  

Dr. Grubaugh talking to patient-2

Stick to the treatment plan

Whether a patient is at school, home, or anywhere in between, the same rules apply. This is especially important when it comes to food restrictions, which can be one of the biggest learning curves to come with braces. School can make it even harder for kids to choose lunches and snacks that are safe for braces! It’s easy enough to manage food restrictions at home when parents are in charge of buying groceries, but it can be a bit more difficult if a patient prefers school lunches or has regular access to a vending machine.

To keep orthodontic treatment on track, we encourage parents to check the school’s lunch menu every week for options that are braces-friendly. Examples of this would be popular foods like lean meat, mashed potatoes, spaghetti, mac and cheese, and cooked vegetables. For picky eaters, packing a lunch can simplify life for both the patient and the parent sometimes! Pasta, soups, and other soft options are great options for kids who have a Thermos, while sandwiches can be cut into smaller bites the night before for easier chewing. This can be especially helpful after adjustment appointments.

Even though braces patients need to avoid foods like pretzels, chips, and some raw fruits and veggies, there are still plenty of healthy options available, such as applesauce, yogurt, cheese strings, and bananas. These are gentle on braces, and will also help keep kids feeling full and satisfied throughout the school day.

Food isn’t the only lunchtime consideration, since what a child chooses to drink at school also affects their oral health. Drinking from a water bottle throughout the day keeps kids hydrated and washes food particles away from the teeth and braces, too. Stick to plain water, though, and skip any soda or fruit juices. These liquids can stain the teeth and increase the risk for cavities. For the times when a sweet drink is all that will do, use a straw to keep the sugar away from the teeth, and brush as soon as possible.  

Be safe

For student athletes or children who have regular P.E. classes, an orthodontic mouthguard is recommended. A properly fitted orthodontic mouthguard is designed to be worn with braces, and will protect braces from damage and a child’s mouth from injury during sports and other physical activities. Orthodontic mouth guards are usually available at major sporting goods stores, along with non-orthodontic models. Dr. Grubaugh is also happy to recommend or order one for patients and parents who would rather go through our office instead.

Dr. Grubaugh with a patient

Send students back to school with a smile from Grubaugh Orthodontics

It’s not unusual for kids going back to school with new braces to feel nervous, especially if they aren’t sure what to expect. Even patients who have been in braces for a while can struggle with a little anxiety at first! Thankfully, braces will become just another part of a child’s daily routine in almost no time at all. At Grubaugh Orthodontics, we work hard to make every patient’s orthodontic journey a positive experience. If you’d like more information on how to navigate the new school year while wearing braces, our expert team is here to help! We believe that every child deserves a straight-A smile, and are proud to help your child achieve exactly that.

Enter to Win $1000 for Your School!

Did a teacher from your school (or a school you support) receive a One Class at a Time $250 Award from Grubaugh Orthodontics during the 2018-2019 school year? 

If yes, your school is eligible to WIN the One Class at a Time Grand Prize! (See the list of eligible schools below.)

Vote using the link below for the teacher that you believe used their $250 award the best.  The school with the most votes will WIN $1000 to use for any academic purpose.  

Begin voting by clicking this link and then clicking on the video of your school.

 

Rules

Voting is open until August 31st at 10:00 PM EST.  One vote per person, per day.  

The $1000 prize will be gifted to the winning school in early September.  Thank you for your participation & good luck!

 

List of Schools

Below is a list of schools (27 total) with a teacher who applied for and received a One Class at a Time Award during the 2018-2019 school year and eligible to win the $1,000 prize:

Clinton County 

  • Bath Middle School
  • David Scott Elementary (DeWitt Public)
  • EE Knight Elementary (Ovid-Elise Public)
  • Gateway North Elementary (St. Johns Public)   
  • Herbison Woods Elementary (DeWitt Public) 
  • Pewamo-Westphalia Elementary School 
  • Riley Elementary (St. Johns Public)
  • St. Joseph Catholic School – St. Johns
  • Waldron Elementary & Middle School (Fowler Public)

Eaton County

  • Eaton Rapids Middle School
  • Hayes Middle School (Grand Ledge Public)
  • Our Savior Lutheran School
  • Potterville High School
  • St. Gerard School
  • Wacousta Elementary (Grand Ledge Public)
  • Waverly Middle School 
  • Willow Ridge Elementary (Grand Ledge Public)
  • Winans Elementary (Waverly Public) 

Ingham County

  • Gardner International (Lansing Public)
  • Horizon Elementary (Holt Public)
  • Hope Middle School (Holt Public)
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Schools
  • Lansing Christian School
  • Lewton Global Emersion School (Lansing Public)
  • Murphy Elementary (Haslett Public)
  • Ralya Elementary School (Haslett Public)
  • Whitehills Elementary (East Lansing Public)

Dr. Grubaugh’s 4 Favorite Summer Events

It feels like it just started yesterday, yet summer is flying by already. It’ll be time for school to start back before we know it, but there’s still plenty of time to have a fun-filled adventure or two before then! Fortunately, Lansing has no shortage of exciting opportunities to get you and your family out and about, enjoying everything our city has to offer in the warmer months. Dr. Grubaugh has put together a list of things he’s most looking forward to doing this summer. Take a look below and let us know if there’s anything major we missed!

Old Town art festival

Old Town Art Feast

1232 Turner Street

Lansing, MI 48906 

08/17/2019

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Old Town is the place to be in August if you’re looking for awesome local art, shopping, food, and fun! The Art Feast combines local art with delicious treats, showcasing dozens of art vendors along Turner Street with a mouth-watering food truck rally in the afternoon. If that’s not enough to tempt you, there will be sidewalk sales and special performances associated with the Renegade Theatre Festival. Enjoy theater and live music along with the handmade crafts on display for an afternoon of all-around artistic goodness! 

Dewitt farmer's market

DeWitt’s Downtown Farmers Market

414 E W Main St

Dewitt, MI 48820

Tuesdays from June 4th – October 8th 

4 p.m. – 7 p.m

Dr. Grubaugh loves the Market so much that Grubaugh Orthodontics sponsors it! Bring the whole family to browse what’s on offer from numerous Mid-Michigan vendors and producers. You’ll find a wide variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious baked goods, specialty gourmet foods, local honey and maple syrups, jellies, poultry, beef, pork, rabbit, flavorful fresh herbs, and farm-fresh eggs. If that’s not enough, there will be seasonal garden plants and plant starts available, as well as handcrafted items from local artists. Several vendors offer ready-made food so you can eat on the go, and there is live weekly music, too. 

The first Tuesday of every month is Kid’s Activity Day, and the theme this year is Real Life SuperHEROES.

June 4: Police and Firefighters

July 2: Military

August 6: Farmers

September 3: Teachers

October 1: Dress-up as your favorite SuperHERO and trick or treat at the Market

There will be several other special events at the Market throughout the season, including the annual Bike Parade on July 2 and a pumpkin decorating contest on October 8. The Market operates rain or shine, so be sure to swing by this summer to enjoy everything it has to offer! 

Minty at the mint festival

St. Johns Mint Festival

Clinton County Fairgrounds

800 W Sickles St

St Johns, MI 48879

August 9-11, 2019

Dr. Grubaugh attended this festival every year growing up, and it’s still one of the things he looks forward to the most every summer. The St. Johns Mint Festival is held the second weekend of August every year, and provides tons of fun for the entire family!  Over 75,000 people explore arts and crafts, a flea market, antiques and collectibles, softball, basketball and tennis tournaments, tractor pulls, and children’s activities spread across the city park and county fairgrounds. There’s also free daily entertainment, the Mint Queen Pageant, and lots of mint-themed information and foods. Don’t miss the Grand Mint Parade on Saturday, and make sure you get a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream to cool you down while you walk around!

The Blue Moon Ice Cream Shop

9448 E M-21

Ovid, MI 48866 

Dr. Grubaugh’s favorite ice cream shop is only open in the summer, so make a special effort to try it out before it’s gone for another year! This is a hot spot in the warmer months, so it stays pretty packed, but don’t let the long lines discourage you – they move fast. Sometimes they showcase local musicians outdoor under their pavilion, and you can score sweet deals on 3-gallon tubs of their ice cream at the end of the summer to get you through the long Michigan winter. 

Speaking of ice cream…Blue Moon features over 100 flavors and combinations in premium hand-dipped, premium soft serve, and frozen yogurt! Pick your favorite and enjoy it in a homemade waffle cone, shake, malt, flurry, sundae, or enjoy a slushie or glacier with homemade popping bobas. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, they offer hot dogs, chili dogs, brats, Polish and BBQ sandwiches, and even fried pickles and green beans!

Keep your child’s smile in shape this summer

Whatever you’ve got on the calendar this summer, we want our orthodontic patients to have fun without losing sight of their treatment plan. That means keeping up with caring for their braces or aligners so that treatment isn’t interrupted – even if your regular routine is!

To help your child get through the summer with their braces and treatment schedule intact, we offer a few helpful recommendations like:

  • Keep an orthodontic kit with you for braces care on the go, and include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a little orthodontic wax
  • Put our phone numbers and email address in your phone or write it down somewhere, so we can walk you through any unexpected emergencies that may occur while you’re out and about
  • If your child is in braces, make sure they stick to treats that are orthodontist-approved, and avoid offering anything that’s too crunchy or chewy
  • Be sure your child’s dental hygiene routine is maintained and that they are brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing every night before bed

By following the tips we’ve outlined above, you can make the most of the summer without sacrificing your child’s smile! Don’t forget that you can always count on our talented team for expert support and advice if you ever have any questions or concerns, too. Grubaugh Orthodontics is here to help your child achieve a healthy smile this summer – and the rest of the year, too!

Summer 2019 Contest

$500 Shopping Spree Summer Contest 2019

💲💲 Enter to WIN a $5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ Shopping Spree💲💲

🧐 Yes, you read that right!

$500 for you to shop til you drop! 🛒🛍📦

Help Team Grubaugh 💪 with our #grubaughgives 🤲😍 movement and you could WIN! 💃🕺

 

👇👇See the entry form below! 👇👇

Download the Entry Form

 

The Top 5 Things Moms Need To Know About Orthodontics

As a mom, you most likely find yourself wearing multiple hats each day, from cook to chauffeur and everything in between. However, there’s one hat you shouldn’t have to wear just because you’re a mother – that of an orthodontist. You may be a pro at juggling work, school, extracurriculars, and the occasional special event, but your child’s oral health requires expert advice and guidance. That’s where Grubaugh Orthodontics comes in!

Experienced orthodontists go through years of additional training after dental school in order to become highly-trained specialists in tooth movement, facial growth, and dental development. This extra training and experience are what make orthodontists the best bet for giving your child a lasting smile that looks and feels great.

You may not be an expert on orthodontics like Dr. Grubaugh, but we still want you to feel confident in your choice to seek orthodontic care for your child. Treatment is a big investment in their oral health and their smile, so let’s look at some of the important things you should know about orthodontics before you get started!

(Is your child age 7 or above? Click here to schedule their FREE orthodontic evaluation!)

Orthodontics is about more than creating straight smiles

It’s a common misconception that orthodontics is focused exclusively on straightening smiles, but in reality, treatment addresses much more! Straight teeth aren’t the only indicator of a healthy smile, so orthodontics focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists like Dr. Grubaugh know how to go beyond the surface of a smile to examine a patient’s teeth, the movement and growth of their jaw, and the way the teeth are developing. This gives them the opportunity to catch any impacted, missing, or overcrowded teeth that may otherwise go unnoticed – at least until they begin causing problems!

Grubaugh assistant talking to a patient's mom

Children should have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7

Orthodontics tends to be associated with teens, so it often comes as a surprise to learn that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids have their first orthodontic exam by about the age of 7. Yes, even though their mouths are still developing, and yes, even though they still have a mix of baby and permanent teeth. That’s actually the point! When we see children around this age, we can pick up on potential problems before they become a bigger deal. This can lessen or eliminate any negative impact on your child’s permanent teeth and bite.

Because we treat many young patients at Grubaugh Orthodontics, we’ve seen time and again the difference preventive care can make. Starting treatment at the right time can have a big impact on a child’s oral health! Even though most children won’t require any active treatment, an early exam lets us check for a number of issues to determine if and when orthodontic treatment is indicated.

Pick an orthodontic office you and your child are comfortable with

Depending on the type of treatment, most orthodontic patients will need to be seen every 6-8 weeks or so throughout the process. Since you’ll be spending quite a bit of time there, it’s important to find an office you feel comfortable with. Our Lansing and DeWitt offices are state-of-the-art facilities, full of fun for kids and adults alike! With the latest technology and most innovative treatment options, you can be sure you’re getting the most efficient treatment and best results possible, all in a relaxing, friendly environment.

For your convenience, we offer late appointments on Monday and Tuesday evenings, as well as early appointments on Thursday mornings. We’re also conveniently located so you can get back to work, school, or home as soon as possible after your child’s appointment. Our team is committed to creating a positive, stress-free experience from your first appointment with us to your last – and beyond!

There are multiple treatment options available

At Grubaugh Orthodontics, we combine innovative technology with cutting-edge techniques to help patients of all ages achieve a straighter, healthier smile. We offer the following treatments in our Lansing and DeWitt offices.

Traditional metal braces

Metal braces are composed of high-quality stainless steel brackets, wires, and bands. These work together to gently guide the teeth into the desired positions over time. Today’s braces are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than ever before, and can even be personalized by choosing elastics from wide variety of fun colors!

Traditional metal braces still tend to be the most widely used orthodontic treatment, and for good reason.They’re a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective option for straightening smiles and improving oral health. Metal braces can be especially useful in cases that are more severe or complicated.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces, sometimes referred to as clear braces, utilize the same components as traditional braces, but the brackets are made of a translucent ceramic material. This blends in with the natural color of your teeth, and when paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics and ties, offers patients a discrete treatment option. Current ceramic braces are often a little less durable than their metal counterparts, and are sometimes prone to breakage, so we generally only recommend them for older teens and adults.

Damon system braces

Unlike traditional braces that use elastic ties, Damon System uses self-ligating brackets.  Each one has a built-in door that holds the wire passively to the bracket. Additional attachments like ligature ties and elastic rubber o-ties aren’t needed to hold the wire, which decreases friction so less force is required to move teeth. This allows us to use lighter and more biologically compatible forces, minimizing the need for extractions of permanent teeth, headgear, and high force palatal expanders (RPE).

Damon braces are precise and effective, and can reduce the need for some of the more time-consuming procedures that can come with traditional braces. Due to the unique design of the Damon system, teeth can be moved into their correct positions with less discomfort and faster results. Because the braces are small, comfortable, and easy to keep clean, they can be an excellent option for patients of all ages!

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Instead of relying on metal or ceramic brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear, customized aligners to move the teeth over time. These aligners are nearly invisible and completely removable, giving patients extra freedom and flexibility. Because they’re composed of a soft but strong thermoplastic resin, patients avoid some of the friction and abrasions that braces can cause. As the teeth begin to shift, the aligners are changed out every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements.

Unlike braces, Invisalign relies almost entirely on patient compliance to work properly. The aligners must be worn a minimum of 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment. The Invisalign system tends to work best for mild to moderate orthodontic issues, so it may not always be a suitable choice for patients with more severe or complicated cases.

Dr. Grubaugh talking to a patient and her mom

Treatment times vary

When it comes to how long a patient will be in braces or aligners, there is no “one size fits all” answer. That’s because every patient has their own unique smile, and responds to treatment in their own way. The length of time your child will require treatment will vary based on their own specific case. Other factors will include the severity of the problem, the health of their teeth, gums, and supporting bone, and how compliant they are. On average, however, braces tend to be worn for about 12 to 24 months, while Invisalign treatment averages about 12 to 18 months.

Give your child the gift of a lifelong smile with Grubaugh Orthodontics

We know that you want nothing but the best for your child, including a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. If you’re in Lansing, DeWitt, or any of the surrounding communities and want to explore more about orthodontics for your child, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation! We’d love to meet you both, and get your child on the road to a smile they’ll want to share with the world!

Nutrition and Oral Health

It’s no secret that a balanced diet is important to our overall health. But did you know that what you eat and drink can also directly affect the health of your teeth and gums?

Here at Grubaugh Orthodontics, straightening smiles is only one part of what we do. We want to help you improve your oral health, too! Orthodontic treatment is one way to achieve that, but eating a nutritious diet also plays an important role in the process. Let’s take a look at how good foods can protect your teeth, how a poor diet can affect them, and what you should be eating in order to maintain a healthy, happy mouth.

A healthy diet will give you something to smile about

Nutrition affects our oral health before we’re even born. All the calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and protein that an expectant mother takes in helps a baby’s teeth begin to form and mineralize properly. Our teeth continue to develop and mineralize throughout the teen years, and over the course of our life, our oral tissues are constantly recycling. A variety of nutrients are necessary to support this process successfully.

Good nutrition is not only a building block of oral health, it’s also a preventative measure. Nutritional deficiencies can reduce your resistance to dental disease and inhibit your body’s ability to fight certain types of infection. Your diet can help prevent tooth decay and enamel erosion….or it can contribute to it! Human mouths are naturally hospitable to all different kinds of bacteria, some of which are helpful, and some that are harmful.

Many of the harmful microorganisms thrive on the sugar in your diet. As they process this sugar, the bacteria produce acids that can eat into the enamel of your teeth, forming the small holes better known as cavities. If left untreated, tooth decay can worsen. It may become painful, and can cause teeth to loosen or even fall out eventually. This is one reason why you should do your best to avoid food and drinks with added sugar. While indulging in a sugar craving every now and then is okay as long as you’re brushing and flossing properly, fresh fruit can hit the spot in a much healthier way!

Grubaugh assistant with a patient

A healthy diet equals a healthy mouth

Fortunately, there is no evidence that the sugars that exist in whole grains, fruits, vegetable, and starch-rich staples like bread, rice, and potatoes are harmful to teeth. That’s good news since these can be excellent sources of vitamins and minerals! These foods benefit your overall health in a number of ways, but more specifically, they strengthen your teeth and help protect enamel. (They’re also safe for braces, if you wear them.) Here’s a brief breakdown on how healthier choices will give you a brighter, stronger smile.

Milk and other dairy products
Who doesn’t love cheese? Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt make excellent snacks, and also pack a punch of calcium that will help to keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy.

Whole grain bread and pastas

These items offer up complex carbohydrates that give bacteria less digestible food to grow. In addition, they possess a ton of nutrients to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Chicken, red meat, and fatty fish

Protein is the star of this show, but these foods also contain phosphorus, a vital component in strengthening your teeth and protecting the tooth enamel.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies is one of the best things you can do for your oral, and overall, health. Leafy greens, in particular, contain high amounts of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and magnesium, all minerals that are instrumental in improving and maintaining oral health.

Water

Sodas, juices, and sports drinks may be delicious, but they are notorious for leaving behind sugars that bacteria flock to. As the bacteria devours this sugar, it produces acid that eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Sodas and juices can also have phosphoric, citric, or malic acids  added to them, which can compound enamel erosion.

Plain water, however, is wonderful for your oral health! It protects your mouth by washing away any leftover food and debris that bad bacteria are looking for, and also  dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. It’s also useful for reducing bad breath and relieving dry mouth. While drinking water throughout the day is no substitute for your oral hygiene routine, it can go a long way towards keeping your mouth clean and cavity-free!

Dr. Grubaugh speaking with patients

What’s the best healthy diet for you?

The best diet will vary from person to person, depending mainly on age, gender, height, weight, and fitness, but most people will benefit from the following concepts.

Variety

No single food, drink, or shake can meet all of the daily nutrient requirements. Eating a variety of foods and washing them down with water not only help you hit nutritional milestones, they also make mealtimes more interesting!

Balance

To maintain a balanced diet, aim to eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, including:

  • whole grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish, dry beans, peas, and other legumes
  • dairy foods

Limit the number of snacks you eat, and when you do indulge, try to choose something healthy, such as a fruit, vegetable, or a piece of cheese.

Moderation

Speaking of, there’s a reason to keep a lid on excess snacking! It’s not just what you eat that affects the level of acidity in your mouth, when you’re eating matters, too. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal actually cause less harm to the teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. That saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and neutralizes the harmful acids being produced.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that foods and beverages should be consumed in the appropriate serving sizes whenever possible. This is especially important when it comes to items that are heavy on added sugar for the reasons outlined above.

Grubaugh Orthodontics can help you find your healthiest smile

It’s clear that what you choose to eat and drink can have a powerful impact on your oral health, for better or worse. While orthodontic treatment with Grubaugh Orthodontics can align your mouth and jaw and give you a straighter smile, adopting a healthier diet is an easy way for you to improve your oral health and your overall health, too!

If you’re in Lansing, DeWitt, or the surrounding areas, and want to learn more about how nutrition can give you a happy mouth and sparkling smile, get in touch with us today! We’re always happy to educate patients on ways to improve oral hygiene at home.