Foods for healthy teeth

7 foods for healthy teeth

Complete oral care extends far beyond brushing and flossing.

There are lots of good habits to adopt to ensure your smile stays bright and beautiful, but don’t overlook the powerful cleansing properties of simple, everyday foods.

The following seven are supercharged foods for your teeth – helping to build healthier teeth and gums, as well as prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Cheese

There’s good news for those that love a good cheese board – cheese is a superfood for the teeth due to its ability to combat acid erosion of the teeth.

Every time you eat a meal with breads, sweets, citrus, or soda, your teeth are exposed to tooth decay causing acid. Eating cheese after a meal can counteract the acid left behind by a meal, making it a great choice for dessert.

Fish

It’s important to get enough calcium in your diet in order to protect your teeth and gums from disease. However, your body can’t absorb all that calcium if you don’t have enough vitamin D. Fatty fish (such a salmon) is a fantastic source of vitamin D, allowing your teeth and gums to get the full disease-fighting benefits of calcium from the foods you eat.

Oranges

This one may be a bit of a surprise, given oranges are a citrus fruit. However, the vitamin C in citrus strengthens blood vessels and connective tissue and slows down the progression of gum disease by reducing inflammation.

Go ahead and make oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus regular features in your fruit bowl, but just remember to wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after you eat citrus fruits.

Water

Saliva is made up of 99.5% water. Dehydration can thicken your saliva, which wreaks havoc in the mouth.

Optimum levels of water in your saliva are essential to the breakdown of food, neutralising bacterial acid (hello morning breath!) and preventing tooth decay. While water still isn’t as good as a toothbrush and floss, it can still aid in reducing plaque by rinsing away food debris. Rinsing with water after drinking coffee or having other staining foods can help reduce staining to the teeth.

Fruits and vegetables

Don’t have a toothbrush handy? High-fibre fruits and vegetables are your next best option. Their high fibre content actually ‘scrubs’ the teeth similar to the way your toothbrush might and stimulates saliva production because of the extra chewing they require.

Salad greens pack an all-around healthy punch, with the high water content in crunchy, juicy fruits and vegetables also helping to offset their sugar content. Keep fresh carrots, celery, cucumber and apples (often referred to as ‘nature’s toothbrushes’) on hand at all times and your teeth will thank you!

Green and black tea

Polyphenols, which are found in green and black tea, interact with the bacteria that cause plaque by killing or suppressing them. Bacteria feed on the sugars in your mouth and, once they’ve had their feast, they excrete tooth enamel destroying acids. This makes tea a great choice for during or after a meal, since it suppresses the presence of these acid producing bacteria in the mouth.

Chocolate

Yes, you heard right. Chocolate! As long as it’s at least 70% cacao, and eaten in moderation of course.

Dark chocolate is a superfood for the teeth due to a compound called CBH which has shown to help harden tooth enamel, making your teeth less susceptible to tooth decay. However, not every kind of chocolate is good for you. The cocoa bean is what houses the good stuff – not the chocolate itself – so make sure you opt for the dark chocolate option and remember to brush your teeth afterwards.

If you have braces, it’s a good idea to avoid chocolate with nuts. You should also store your chocolate treats at room temperature rather than in the fridge – cold, hard chocolate can be tough to bite.

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10 surprising foods that are good for your teeth

We all know the secret to healthy teeth: brush regularly, floss regularly and keep sugars to a minimum. However, the food you eat can also play a part in maintaining a healthy mouth and, while no food will ever replace the need to brush, there are some that are surprisingly healthy for your teeth.

10. Chewing gum

Whether or not this qualifies as food is debatable, and we would strongly advise against swallowing it. However, as many advertisements promise, chewing gum is indeed good for your teeth, provided it is sugar free. This is because chewing speeds up saliva production, which in turn helps rinse away harmful acids more effectively. As an added bonus, it makes your breath smell better.

9. Salmon

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for good oral health, as it effectively allows your body to better absorb calcium and put it to good use throughout your body. Salmon is packed full of both Vitamin D and calcium, making it an all-round superfood for helping to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

8. Carrots

Carrots have been hailed a cavity fighting vegetable, as munching on sticks of crunchy, raw carrot acts as a natural toothbrush. The chewing action massages your gums, and this bright vegetable is high in plaque-attacking keratin as well as Vitamin A, which is crucial for strengthening delicate tooth enamel. All-in-all it’s a good choice for an in-between-meal snack.

7. Cheese

Cheese is great for your teeth. Not only does it have high levels of phosphate and calcium, which naturally strengthen teeth and bones, but it also helps balance the pH level in your mouth, which means less harmful acid, more cleansing saliva and fewer cavities.

6. Yoghurt

Unsweetened natural yoghurt makes a great healthy breakfast or snack. For the benefit of your teeth, yoghurt contains both casein and calcium, which strengthen enamel and help repair it if it happens to be damaged.

5. Sesame seeds

Eating sesame seeds on their own, or baked into bread will help you in two ways. First of all, as you chew, they help to scrub plaque from your teeth and, secondly, they’re high in calcium. Just make sure any seeds caught between your teeth are removed as soon as possible.

4. Onions

Raw onion is incredibly healthy for you, and as an added bonus, the antibacterial sulphur compounds contained in an onion will kill the harmful bacteria on your teeth. But you might want to chew gum afterwards!

3. Celery

Celery gives your teeth a great workout. As you chew celery, it helps to clean your teeth and massages your gums in the process, while all that chewing will also produce plenty of saliva to neutralise bacteria.

2. Apples

Apples are highly acidic and you could be forgiven for thinking that would weaken the enamel on your teeth. However, the natural sugars contained within apples actually help neutralise harmful acids in the mouth. As well as this, chewing apples is another good mouth workout for saliva production, and they’re packed with vitamins to keep your gums healthy.

1. Strawberries

Strawberries are sweet, acidic and tend to stain things red, so how can they possibly be good for your teeth? Strawberries contain malic acid, which is actually a good natural whitener for enamel – eating strawberries will actually help keep your teeth free of stains. Just be mindful that strawberry seeds can get stuck between your teeth, so make sure you floss after eating them.

The 8 Worst Foods for Your Teeth

They say you are what you eat. And in no better place can that be seen than in your teeth. That’s because many foods and beverages can cause plaque, which does serious damage your teeth. Plaque is a bacteria-filled sticky film that contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. After you eat a sugary snack or meal, the sugars cause the bacteria to release acids that attack tooth’s enamel. When the enamel breaks down, cavities can develop.

Cavities are the most common chronic disease faced by people aged six to 19 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They cause complications like pain, chewing problems, and tooth abscesses. And if you don’t brush or floss your teeth, your plaque will harden and turn into tartar. Tartar above the gums can lead to gingivitis, an early form of gum disease.

How can you prevent plaque from wreaking havoc on your mouth? Besides brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing and visiting a dentist regularly, try to avoid or limit the foods below.

1. Sour Candies

It’s not surprising that candy is bad for your mouth. But sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids that are tougher on your teeth. Plus, because they’re chewy, they stick to your teeth for a longer time, so they’re more likely to cause decay. If you’re craving sweets, grab a square of chocolate instead, which you can chew quickly and wash away easily.

2. Bread

Think twice as you walk down the supermarket bread aisle. When you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. Now transformed into a gummy paste-like substance, the bread sticks to the crevices between teeth. And that can cause cavities. When you’re craving some carbs, aim for less-refined varieties like whole wheat. These contain less added sugars and aren’t as easily broken down.

3. Alcohol

We all know that drinking alcohol isn’t exactly healthy. But did you realize that when you drink, you dry out your mouth? A dry mouth lacks saliva, which we need to keep our teeth healthy. Saliva prevents food from sticking to your teeth and washes away food particles. It even helps repair early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral infections. To help keep your mouth hydrated, drink plenty of water and use fluoride rinses and oral hydration solutions.

4. Carbonated Drinks

We all know that little, if any, good comes from soda or pop, even if it’s got the word “diet” on the can. A recent study even found that drinking large quantities of carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as using methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Carbonated sodas enable plaque to produce more acid to attack tooth enamel. So if you sip soda all day, you’re essentially coating your teeth in acid. Plus it dries out your mouth, meaning you have less saliva. And last but not least, dark-colored sodas can discolor or stain your teeth. A note: don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking a soda; this could actually hasten decay.

5. Ice

All it contains is water, so it’s fine to chew ice, right? Not so, according to the American Dental Association. Chewing on a hard substance can damage enamel and make you susceptible to dental emergencies such as chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, or loosened crowns. You can use your ice to chill beverages, but don’t chew on it. To resist the urge, opt for chilled water or drinks without ice.

6. Citrus

Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are tasty as both fruits and juices, and are packed with vitamin C. But their acid content can erode enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. Even squeezing a lemon or lime into water adds acid to a drink. Plus, acid from citrus can be bothersome to mouth sores. If you want to get a dose of their antioxidants and vitamins, eat and drink them in moderation at mealtime and rinse with water afterward.

7. Potato Chips

The crunch of a potato chip is eternally satisfying to many of us. Unfortunately, they’re loaded with starch, which becomes sugar that can get trapped in and between the teeth and feed the bacteria in the plaque. Since we rarely have just one, the acid production from the chips lingers and lasts awhile. After you’ve gorged on a bag, floss to remove the trapped particles.

8. Dried Fruits

You likely assume that dried fruits are a healthy snack. That may be true, but many dried fruits — apricots, prunes, figs, and raisins, to name a few — are sticky. They get stuck and cling in the teeth and their crevices, leaving behind lots of sugar. If you do like to eat dried fruits, make sure you rinse your mouth with water, and then brush and floss after. And because they’re less concentrated with sugar, it is a better choice to eat the fresh versions instead!

Ask anyone and they’ll probably be able to rattle off a few healthy foods that you should eat every day- vegetables, fruits, proteins. These foods are notorious for doing your body a whole lot of good- but what about your teeth? Are the foods that are so good for your body, just as good for your mouth? The answers may surprise you.

You know the expression, “You are what you eat,”? This not only applies to your body but your mouth as well. Your mouth is the gateway to your overall health and can provide telltale signs of the condition of your body. Just adding in a few of these foods each day can drastically improve not only your overall health but your mouth health as well. Read on for the 7 foods (and drinks) you should be snacking on right now to improve your smile.

1. Nuts

Nutrient-rich nuts are a great source of calcium and protein. Nuts are essential for a balanced diet and are also incredibly filling. Low in carbohydrates and sugar, nuts aid in tooth decay prevention due to their low acidity and bacteria-fighting benefits. Chewing on nuts also increases saliva production and the more saliva, the less of a chance bacteria has to develop and hang around in your mouth. If you’re stumped on how to add nuts into your diet, try a handful of almonds for a quick afternoon snack, or add some to a salad for a protein boost at lunch or dinner.

2. Milk & Yogurt

Packed with protein and calcium, milk and yogurt are worthy additions to our list. Calcium and protein act as strengthening agents for teeth and strong teeth means an overall healthy mouth. Milk and plain yogurts are also low in sugar, which means a delicious and satisfying snack that won’t promote tooth decay. Not only that, but milk has been found to neutralize the acids produced in the mouth that can cause bacteria and protect the mouth from cavities if drank after desserts and other sweet treats (though not as a replacement for brushing or flossing).

3. Crunchy Vegetables

Vegetables should be a part of everyone’s diet as it is, but crunchy veggies specifically have a lot of benefits for teeth. Vegetables like celery and carrots are full of fiber which is a key nutrient that is known to strengthen teeth. Vitamins A and C are also antioxidants that can improve your gum health, which is crucial to the overall health of your mouth. Crunchy vegetables also act as a toothbrush by cleaning the teeth of food and any bacteria causing particles. Snack on celery or carrots either or with dips that are low in sugar.

4. Crunchy Fruits

Part of a healthy mouth is avoiding added sugars that increase your risk of tooth decay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have sweet food in your diet. Fruits are nutrient dense and high in fiber just like their counterpart vegetables. Just like vegetables, aim for crunchy fruits- specifically apples. Apples have a high water and fiber content and also have the ability to clean your teeth. Different from vegetables, though, apples can stimulate the gums which make for food that has several benefits for your mouth.

5. Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens and swiss chard are all great examples of leafy greens that will get the job done. Full of vitamins, minerals and hopefully a staple in every diet, leafy greens are a low-calorie food that is high in calcium and folic acid which means the benefits for your mouth are endless. If you’re struggling to get your greens, try a green smoothie with banana, spinach, milk and berries.

6. Cheese

Cheese lovers- rejoice! If you’re a fan of this savory snack, you’ll be happy to know there are numerous mouth health benefits you gain when eating cheese. Because cheese is packed with calcium and protein that strengthens tooth enamel, we already know it’s a treat of choice, but cheese decreases the risk of tooth decay by balancing the pH in your mouth (that is acidic) by acting as a base.

7. Water

Water isn’t technically a food, we know, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. We want to drive home just how important water is not only for your body but also your mouth. Water acts rinses away any foods you may have eaten that are sticky, unhealthy or not good for your teeth. Water doesn’t replace brushing and flossing but can take its place until you have access to a toothbrush. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces in water each day.

To learn more about how to keep your mouth healthy, visit the team at West Chester Dental Arts and get more tips for the perfect smile. Make your appointment today!

Daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing are essential to a healthy smile, but did you know nutrition has an effect on your dental health, too?

Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, calcium-rich foods and whole grains provides essential nutrients for optimum oral health as well as overall health.

Foods for Optimum Oral Health

  • Calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy drinks and tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables help promote strong teeth and bones.
  • Phosphorus, found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts and beans is good for strong teeth.
  • Vitamin C promotes gum health, so eat plenty of citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes and spinach.

Smart snacking also can keep your mouth in good shape. Resist the urge to snack frequently — the more often you eat, especially between meals, the more likely you are to introduce acid attacks on your teeth. If you do snack, choose wisely. Forgo sugary treats such as hard or sticky candy and opt for nutritious choices such as raw vegetables, fruits, plain yogurt and popcorn. Remember to brush after snacking to keep cavities at bay. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of food particles.

Caring for a baby? Avoid pacifying your infant, toddler or young child with a bottle of juice, formula or milk. Sucking on the bottle bathes the teeth and gums in liquid which can contribute to tooth decay.

In addition to healthful eating, oral health problems can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day, flossing once a day, drinking fluoridated water and seeking regular oral health care.

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