There is little doubt that the most important work you do for your oral health is in front of your washroom mirror, brush and floss in hand. The thing is, the foods and drinks we choose to consume day in and day out also play a major role in keeping our teeth and gums in tip top shape. In today’s post we will discuss the best foods and beverages you should incorporate into your diet to help maintain and even fortify your oral health. Although some of the items listed below will not surprise you, there are definitely some that will give you pause and perhaps even change the way you think about them and your diet as a whole. Without further ado, let’s get right into our list of the best foods for your teeth.
Cheese lovers rejoice! The truth is, the dairy excellence that is cheese has been shown to increase the pH balance in people’s mouths for an extended period of time thereby decreasing the level of acidity. Cavities are caused by acid produced by the bacteria in dental plaque, meaning that eating cheese temporarily protects your teeth from cavities. Beyond that, cheese is chalk full of calcium, phosphates and casein protein, all of which have been shown to strengthen existing tooth enamel. Cheese also promotes the production of saliva, the body’s natural means of protecting your teeth and neutralizing acidity.
Milk and Yogurt
Other popular dairy staples including milk and yogurt are an important part of any tooth friendly diet due to their naturally high levels of calcium and phosphates. Most milk is also enriched with Vitamin D, which helps the body better absorb calcium thereby protecting your teeth, gums and jaw.
Crunchy Vegetables and Fruits High in Fiber
Crunchy fruits and vegetables that are high in fibre should be staples of your diet as they are vital to good overall health. They are also wonderful for your teeth as their natural crunch requires a fair amount of chewing, a process that stimulates or old friend saliva. The high fibre content means that these foods also physically scrub teeth, removing some plaque in the process. Last but not least, the high water content of these foods help neutralize their natural sugars much to the chagrin of plaque bacteria. Crunchy fruits and vegetables include apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers and others.
Many of our favourite nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals that are great for your teeth. Peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts contain things like calcium, Vitamin D, fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, potassium and zinc. Adding a collection of these as a snack will also promote the creation of saliva and provide a crunch to clean teeth.
Sugar Free Gum with Xylitol
Sugar free gum actually represents a doubling effect in terms of dental benefits in that it stimulates saliva and scrubs teeth through chewing without any added sugar (sucrose) for bacteria to feed on. Off all sugar substitutes, gums containing xylitol, a naturally derived diabetic sweetener are best. That is because xylitol has been shown to actually fight tooth decay thereby actually helping your oral health. It can also be purchased as a sugar substitute in specialty health food stores.
Green and black teas are not only delicious but contain compounds called polyphenols that suppress and fight bacteria that exists in our mouth. They do this by interacting with the bacteria and makes it more difficult for bacteria to form into large masses as built up plaque. Black tea has also been shown to combat bad breathe by suppressing the bacteria that produce the smell.
Foods Rich in Vitamins A,C and D
Vitamins A, C and D have excellent health benefits for your teeth and the rest of you. Making things like beef, eggs, potatoes, fish, spinach, dark greens, cereals, tofu, beans and poultry will go a long way in keeping your teeth healthy and strong.
We saved the best for last. As you may have learned on a hot day once upon a summer, a lack of water is straight up bad news. The clear stuff is vital to our overall health and is the primary ingredient in our saliva meaning a well hydrated body will produce the optimal amount of saliva. Water is also a natural rinsing agent and drinking a glass after meals will help remove excess food particles and sugar. Fluoridated water such as the stuff flowing from our taps also strengthens tooth enamel thereby protecting our teeth.
As important as it is to incorporate the above listed foods and beverages into your daily diet, avoiding certain other foods is equally as important to optimizing your oral health. Click here for our list of the worst foods for your teeth.