Diet is one of the key factors that affects oral health. What you eat plays a big role in keeping your mouth healthy. Today, we are going to highlight some of the best foods for healthy teeth. Now, the question is… Are you eating enough of them?
Let’s kick off with the simplest one of all. Water is one of the best foods (err… drinks) for healthy teeth for a number of reasons. It keeps you hydrated and prevents problems like dry mouth. Drinking water also helps to wash away food particles that can lead to bacterial growth in the mouth. Fluoridated water is a natural cavity fighter. What’s more, water has zero calories and is a far better choice than sugary drinks that can lead to tooth decay. And because water is not acidic like carbonated beverages, it does not damage your teeth.
Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are some of the best foods for healthy teeth. They a rich source of calcium, which the body needs to build strong bones and teeth. These foods also contain casein, a protein that is particularly important for building tooth enamel. Dairy foods contain other essential vitamins and minerals as well that are good for overall health. Milk helps to lower acidity in the mouth. High acid levels can erode the tooth enamel and lead to problems like tooth decay and teeth sensitivity. Finally, many dairy products like yogurt and cheese are soft and can be easily eaten by people who have problems with chewing.
Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, collard greens, and other green leafy vegetables contain important nutrients like calcium, iron, and folic acid. This makes them some of the best foods for healthy teeth and gums. Eating these vegetables also helps to keep your teeth clean.
Carrots, celery, and other crunchy vegetables have many oral health benefits. When eaten raw, these vegetables can act as natural toothbrushes and clean your teeth because of their rough texture. (This does not mean you should skimp on brushing your teeth, however). Another reason that crunchy vegetables are some of the best foods for healthy teeth is that they require a lot of chewing. This stimulates the flow of saliva, massages the gums, and improves blood circulation. All of these effects are good for your oral health. Plus, crunchy vegetables contain nutrients like vitamin A and keratin that are needed to repair tooth enamel.
Hard fibrous fruits
Fruits like apples and pears have much the same effects as crunchy vegetables. They act as natural cleansers and increase saliva production. This stimulates the gums and reduces the number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. It also helps to neutralize acid in the mouth which can damage tooth enamel. Note that acidic fruits like oranges can contribute to tooth decay. It’s also worth remembering that drinking packaged apple juice may not have the same health benefits as eating raw apples because many juices contain added sugar. It’s best to stick to fresh fruit like apples and pears and eat them raw.
Vitamin C rich fruits
Strawberries, other types of berries, and kiwis are packed with vitamin C, which is known to boost immunity. Eating these fruits can help to build your resistance against infections, including gum disease and tooth decay.
Almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, and Brazil nuts are a good source of several important vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B6, zinc, and potassium. This makes nuts some of the best foods for healthy teeth. They not only give you many nutrients, but are also low in sugar and tasty. Also, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, which helps fight bacteria and tooth decay.
Fish and lean meats
Fish like salmon are a good source of phosphorus, which is needed to protect tooth enamel. Lean meats like chicken contain important nutrients and are good sources of protein, which is essential for healthy gums. Also chewing on meats and fish leads to increased saliva production. This helps wash away food particles and decreases acidity levels in the mouth, reducing your risk of tooth decay.
Both green tea and black tea contain natural substances called polyphenols that are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Tea also contains fluoride which is needed for strong tooth enamel. As long as you drink your tea sugar-free, it is one of the best drinks for healthy teeth. Tea helps to maintain moisture in your mouth and lowers acidity levels. Drinking tea also helps to wash away plaque.
How many best foods for healthy teeth are you eating?
Now that you know the link between diet and good oral health and some of the best foods for healthy teeth, it’s a good time to reevaluate your diet. Remember, it’s not just what foods you eat, but how you eat them. Eating raw foods is always a good idea. These foods massage your gums and get the saliva flowing to wash away food particles. Packaged sugary, salty, and acidic foods should be eaten in moderation.
Other things you can do to prevent damage to your teeth include rinsing your mouth after meals or eating neutralizing foods like milk after acidic foods. Snacking on healthy things like nuts and minimizing food intake between meals are other ways to keep your mouth healthy.
Get comprehensive, personalized dental care
Of course, there is no substitute for good dental hygiene (brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing daily). Regular dental checkups are another key component that can help to maximize your oral health.
Express Dentist is here to support you in finding the best dental professionals in your area. If you’re already eating the best foods for healthy teeth, all that’s left to do is get regular dental care for the whole family. Call Express Dentist today and set up an appointment.
About the author
Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.
As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.