What Are The Best Foods To Eat For Dental Health?
Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to be rocket science. We all know that brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly are the corner stones of healthy teeth, but what about your diet? What effect does the food you eat and the beverages you drink to have on your smile?
Keep reading as we’re going to shed some light on the best foods you should be eating to keep your teeth healthy.
Adopting healthy eating habits means choosing foods that are good for you and cutting out the junk as best you can. Eating healthy is necessary for your body, but it’s also great for your teeth and gums. What you eat is directly related to tooth decay, gum disease, and even how quickly your teeth wear down. Crazy right?
We teamed up with this Burlington dentist to take an expert look at how your eating habits can keep your oral health in good standing.
What does food do my teeth?
To keep your mouth healthy, you need to eat a diet consisting of lots of whole grains, lots of fruits, vegetables, quality proteins, and of course, is low in sugar (especially the processed kind). Putting nutrition aside for a minute, the more you need to chew to break up your food, the better it is for your teeth, as the firm, fibrous, and coarse foods will help dislodge bacteria and plaque as you chew while causing your body to produce more saliva which helps rinse your mouth. Watery foods are also great because they help flush your mouth clean as you eat, like your saliva.
Choosing the best foods for teeth
Without being long-winded and giving you a drawn-out review of the best foods (we’ll shed some light on this later), look at this bullet point list instead.
- Carrots, celery, and most leafy greens (the darker, the better)
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
- Yogurt and cheese
- Apples and pears
- Lean protein meats (chicken and turkey are best)
- Green and black teas
The reason dairy products are great for your teeth
Dairy heavy products like yogurt, milk, and cheeses cause your body to increase saliva production, which protects your teeth. They are also high in protein and, you guessed it, calcium – both of which help keep your teeth nice and strong. Yogurt in particular also contains beneficial bacteria and probiotics for a healthy gut and digestive system (great for your overall health as well as your teeth).
One caveat is to always choose the low-sugar varieties of things like yogurt because that will be bad for your teeth and undo a lot of the good things you’re trying to provide your body with.
Carrots, celery, apples, and pears are amazing for your teeth
Great as a snack or even as a sweet dessert substitute, these fresh vegetables and fruits provide hydration and dietary fiber and promote saliva production. They are also nice and crunchy, so they help scrape and dislodge food particles and bacteria from your tooth surface.
Nuts and lean proteins
High in phosphorus, lean proteins like meat, fish, and poultry (even tofu can be amazing) protect your teeth. Nuts like almonds are a potent source of calcium as well as protein and are also low in sugar. Their texture also requires chewing, which helps clean teeth and promotes saliva production.
Tea and water are the best drinks for your teeth
Any beverage that isn’t carbonated or sugary will be good for your oral health because it will flush your mouth and keep your body hydrated. Teas, like the green and black varieties, are high in tannins which are plaque-fighting ingredients and are also great for your overall health.
Say no to sugar when you snack
While a snack once in a while is ok, it’s best to keep eating between meals to a minimum.
Frequently eating will expose your teeth to bacteria and sugar more often and limit the effectiveness of your saliva to neutralize the acids, which can eat away at your tooth enamel. If you’re going to snack, hold the sugar because that’s what bacteria love to feed on and can continue to harm your teeth long after you’re done eating.
Other eating tips for healthy teeth
Let’s mention some basics – brush and rinse after eating but wait at least 15 minutes. Floss at least once every day, preferably before you go to sleep, and see your dentist regularly for a dental checkup. Avoid sugar when you can, and keep acidic foods to a minimum or at least rinse well afterward. Also, this one is super important – drink lots of water. It’s an amazing cleanser for your mouth and keeps you hydrated, so your mouth stays moist, and bacteria have a hard time putting down roots.
Watching what you’re eating can make a big difference to the health of your smile.
Choosing the right diet alongside an excellent oral hygiene routine is a recipe for a lifetime of good oral health.