According to the American Dental Association (ADA), what you eat affects your teeth. And when it comes to the overall health of your teeth, sugary foods are the number one enemy.
Eating is essential for a person’s survival. And to digest food properly, the teeth are vital for the job. Flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash are the different ways to clean and preserve our teeth. But do you know that there are foods that are also good for your oral health?
Preventative dentistry work and regular tooth brushing are essential for a healthy smile. But even if you have the perfect oral hygiene routine, it’s still not enough. If you don’t watch what you eat, it’ll still be hard to keep your teeth healthy.
Here are five common foods you can eat to keep your healthy smile.
1. Food rich in calcium
Tooth enamel contains minerals. Consuming acidic food items and drinks cause the loss of precious enamel. This makes it important to restore lost minerals by including calcium-rich food in your diet and through calcium supplementation.
Common sources of calcium
Almonds are good for your teeth as they are low in sugar but are a good source of calcium and protein. Add a quarter cup of almonds to your salad, stir-fry dinner, or any meal. Almonds also help fight off bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Rich in calcium, eating cheese helps lower your mouth’s acid levels. Chewing on hard cheese also increases the production of saliva which, in turn, washes away mouth bacteria. If you plan to munch on crackers, add some cheddar to reduce the damage.
Besides water, milk is the best drink for your teeth. It is rich in calcium and lowers acid levels to combat tooth decay.
2. Crunchy food rich in water
Chewing on raw crunchy food rich in water produces more saliva. As we all know, saliva is a natural neutralizer of bacteria-causing cavities. The texture of crunchy foods helps scrub and clean the surface of your teeth thereby removing plaque.
Below is a list of food items that are crunchy and hydrating at the same time.
Acting like nature’s floss for your teeth, celery is also a good source of vitamins A and C, both of which are good for your gum health. It’s the perfect snack that helps preserve your overall oral health.
Crunchy carrots are full of fiber and beta carotene. Munching on raw carrots after every meal increases saliva production which helps reduce the chances of cavities growing.
Drinking water may seem like a no-brainer but a lot of people suffer from dehydration from lack of water. It is something you must consume every day as it also promotes dental health. It keeps your saliva levels high and washes away food particles. It also contains minerals and proteins that fight off plaque.
3. Food rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants fight off bacteria that cause periodontal disease. They also protect the gums from bacterial infection and cell damage. Refer to the list below to get your daily dose of antioxidants.
As fruits almost always available in the supermarket, apples are widely accessible. They are full of nutrients and vitamins, and are rich in fiber and water. Apples rinse away bacteria and food bits, while their fibrous texture stimulates the gums. You can eat apple slices after your lunch for a good mouth scrub.
Raisins are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of oleanolic acid, a phytochemical which kills cavity-causing bacteria.
4. Food containing probiotics
There are tons of good and bad bacteria inside your body. According to a study by Anna Haukioja, probiotics are good bacteria beneficial to dental health. They help decrease plaque and promote gum health.
Common probiotic sources
Not only is yogurt high in calcium but it is also rich in protein which are, on the whole, great for oral health. The good bacteria in yogurt benefit the gums as they expel bacteria-causing cavities. When choosing yogurt, opt for a plain variety with no added sugar.
Fermented foods such as kimchi, tempeh and kefir contain probiotic bacteria. The probiotic bacteria found in these foods can convert sugar into lactic acid. Lactic acid preserves food by stunting the growth of harmful bacteria.
Remember the basics
The food items mentioned above can indeed help in boosting your oral health. But munching on tasty foods which are also great for your oral health is only one thing.
You mustn’t forget the constant reminder of your dentist. You need to regularly clean your teeth and avoid too many acids and sugars if you want to keep that healthy smile.
Regular dental visits are also important in keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy. Your dental professional is there to check on your overall dental health. If you are always busy, opt for online bookings to conveniently schedule your dental appointment.
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.