Best Life Now

    Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

    A guide to the foods that stain and erode teeth—and those that can prevent or reverse the damage.
    gum-teeth

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    Sugarless gum

    Sugar-free gum helps clean teeth by stimulating the production of saliva. Saliva is nature's way of washing away acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth, and it also bathes the teeth in bone-strengthening calcium and phosphate. In addition, many varieties of sugarless gum are sweetened with xylitol, an alcohol that reduces bacteria.

    You might want to stick with mint flavors, however. One 2011 study suggests that the acid used to create certain fruit flavors could damage teeth, though only slightly. "Anything we taste as sour is more acidic, but we're getting so much good out of the saliva flow, I could live with that," Messina says.

    Next: Water

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