Brushing, flossing and other oral health practices are important for preventing cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. But did you know that the types of food you eat also play a key role in whether you have a healthy, beautiful smile?
Parents often tell their kids: “Don’t eat too much candy. You’ll get cavities.” But for optimum dental health, it’s not just about limiting bad foods. You’ll also want to add some foods to your diet.
The best foods for your teeth are those that neutralize acids, provide minerals and vitamins to repair tooth enamel, and stimulate saliva. Follow these simple tips to give your pearly whites a boost and avoid extra trips to the dentist.
Here are the top 10 foods for your teeth.
Milk is a dairy product that provides calcium and phosphates along with vitamin D, which helps the body make full use of the calcium. All these nutrients are essential for healthy teeth and strong bones.
Drinking milk regularly will strengthen and repair tooth enamel, as well as fortify your bones. If you are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, you can drink soy milk that is fortified with calcium as an alternative.
Cheese is an excellent food choice to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Cheese is another saliva-generator. It also contains calcium and phosphates that help neutralize acids in your mouth, and casein that helps fortify your teeth’s surface.
Those who are prone to cavities would do well to eat a small piece of cheese after a meal to prevent decay. You can keep it interesting by choosing different types of cheese such as Romano, Swiss, part-skim ricotta, pasteurized American cheese, provolone, part-skim mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Eating apples increases saliva in the mouth and prevents cavity buildup by scrubbing your teeth’s surface.
Plus, they are loaded with various vitamins and minerals that aid in overall health. Try eating an apple after your dinner to help clean in between your teeth.
Oranges are a rich source of calcium, vitamins C and D, and other nutrients that are good for the health of your teeth.
Orange juice will naturally cleanse your mouth by eliminating harmful bacteria and helping prevent tooth decay.
As orange juice is slightly acidic in nature, brush and floss your teeth as recommended after drinking it. You can also mix oranges with other citrus fruits to maintain the health of your teeth.
Plain, non-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and a good source of protein. Eating yogurt regularly will support dental health and can be a huge help if you are trying to lose weight.
Bear in mind, for better health you’ll want to choose yogurt that is low in fat and sugars. You can enjoy yogurt as it is, mix in some fresh berries for an extra serving of fruit, or even try a yogurt smoothie.
Different types of nuts provide essential vitamins and minerals for your teeth. For example, peanuts contain calcium and vitamin D; almonds contain high levels of calcium; cashews help stimulate saliva; and walnuts contain good amounts of fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, niacin, vitamins E and B6, potassium and zinc that are all good for your teeth.
Teeth enamel may be the hardest substance in the body, but it can be quite brittle so chew those nuts carefully.
Both green and black teas contain compounds called polyphenols that interact with the bacteria that causes plaque. These polyphenols either kill or suppress bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid.
Green and black tea also contain cavity-fighting properties. So, drink one or two cups of green or black tea regularly, and use honey instead of sugar as a sweetener if needed. Choosing green tea will give you many other added health benefits.
8. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which contains tannin that helps prevent tooth erosion and decay by combating inflammation of the gums. Cocoa also reduces the growth of plaque and appears to lower acid production.
Dark chocolate can also promote blood circulation in the gums. Chocolate has many antioxidants and disease-fighting phenolic compounds that combat cell damage in the mouth and throughout the body. So enjoy a piece of dark chocolate several times a day.
Water is indispensable when it comes to oral health. It is the primary component in saliva, which deposits essential minerals into your teeth. It also washes away small food particles between your teeth, which is important to the health of both your teeth and gums.
Water also keeps your gums well hydrated and helps prevent decay by strengthening tooth enamel. Most tap water also contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion (also found in toothpaste and some mouthwashes).
So to keep your teeth healthy and decay free, always try to drink as much water as you can.
10. Sugarless Gums
Various studies have proven that chewing sugarless gum can help improve dental health. Chewing gum helps clean your teeth by stimulating the production of saliva. Saliva washes away acids produced by bacteria in your mouth, and bathes your teeth in bone-strengthening calcium and phosphate.
Chewing gum also helps scrub your teeth and serves as exercise to strengthen your jaw. So pop in a piece of sugarfree gum after you finish a meal. You can find sugarless gums in numerous flavors to suit your taste buds.
Prevention is the best medicine for your smile. So, eat some of these foods to make your teeth stronger and brighter.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
About Ms. Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, CCMS, LMHC, FAND: Lisais an award winning nutrition expert & Chef based in Miami, Florida. She has built a global integrative culinary sports nutrition & performance private practice & corporate consulting business working with Olympian athletes, Fortune 500 corporate executives, movie actors & actresses, politicians, and prestigious luxury resorts such as Ritz Carlton, Sandals & Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Lisa designs, writes, and presents delicious dishes, menus and diets for more than 3 decades and travels worldwide sharing the “gospel” of good food, fresh tastes and plant based cuisine. Her passion for food, fitness, emotional balance and for life is contagious and she shares that passion with her colleagues and guests.