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Dental Health 101: 4 Teeth-Friendly Foods You Need on Your Plate

A balanced diet is important in maintaining your overall health, and that includes maintaining the health of your teeth. In fact, basic dental care entails ensuring that the food on your plate includes items that help make your teeth strong and healthy.

In this article, you will learn what a poor diet can do to your teeth and the four teeth-friendly food items that should be on your plate.

 

How Poor Diet Affects Your Teeth

A poor diet often leads to tooth decay and gum disease because the food you eat mostly contains high levels of sugars, starches, and carbohydrates that increase plaque acid production. When there’s too much acid, the enamel of your teeth becomes weak.

Plaque acid attacks the teeth just 20 minutes or so after you eat. Repeated attacks break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, leading to a cavity.

Almost all foods contain some type of sugar, but not all of them contain crucial nutrients that are necessary for a healthy diet. To reduce the sugar or starch in your diet, consider being a bit more picky with what you put in your mouth. Always read food labels, and stick to those with low sugar or have no added sugar.

Still, avoiding foods high in sugar or starch altogether may not be possible since just about every kind of food has them. Instead, try to balance out the bad with foods that help teeth become strong and healthy.

 

4 Best Foods to Eat to Ensure Dental Health

Since food is your first point of contact with nutrients, whatever you put in your mouth greatly affects your general health. And with that, come your teeth and gums.

With that said, make sure that you eat items from one or more of these four food groups that help maintain good oral health:

 

  1. Dairy Foods

Dairy foods like cheese, yogurt, and milk are considered the good guys when it comes to dental health. These food items are rich in calcium, that is necessary for stronger teeth.

Besides calcium, phosphates contained in milk and other dairy products also aid in bringing back the minerals to the teeth that may have been lost because of other foods. They also help rebuild the tooth enamel that was damaged by plaque acids.

As for cheese, it is believed that this dairy product has the capacity to neutralize plaque acid that makes teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Based on a study published in the General Dentistry journal, teenagers aged 12 to 15 years old who ate cheddar cheese had lower acid levels in their mouths compared to those who consumed a glass of milk or sugar-free yogurt.

After eating, all the test subjects rinsed their mouths with water. The pH levels – which dictate the acidity level – were measured three times: 10, 20, and 30 minutes following the rinse.

While those who had yogurt and milk had no change in pH levels, cheese eaters showed a significant drop in acid levels at every interval.

Of course, yogurt also has its merits. Besides containing calcium like cheese and milk, it also has plenty of protein that helps boost the strength of the teeth.

Aside from serving as an effective treatment for diarrhea, probiotic supplementation through yogurt can help keep the gums healthy because they crowd out bad bacteria that cause cavities. Just make sure you eat plain and sugar-free variants.

 

  1. Tea

Teas contain polyphenols that interact with plaque bacteria in a way that supports dental health. According to studies, polyphenols in green and black tea either hold back or kill bacteria altogether.

Based on research conducted by experts at the University of Illinois in Chicago, mouth rinsing with black tea for a minute for about 10 times every day can lead to less plaque buildup compared to rinsing with water. Moreover, the stickiness and size of the plaque were significantly reduced as well.

According to the researchers, tea has the capacity to undermine bacteria’s capacity to clump together. This means that they can prevent bacteria from making acid or growing strong enough to attack the teeth.

They also found that tea, especially black tea, helps fight bad breath.

According to Christine D. Wu, a pediatric dentistry researcher at the University of Illinois, “Polyphenols suppress the genes of bacteria that control the production of smelly compounds in the mouth.”

 

  1. Leafy Greens

There is probably no nutritious diet that does not contain some types of leafy greens. This is because these food items contain plenty of vitamins and minerals with fewer calories.

But did you know that certain green and leafy veggies also promote oral health? Spinach and kale contain high levels of calcium which, as you already know, is the foundation of stronger teeth. As a bonus, they also contain folic acid – a B-vitamin that is good for pregnant women and might help treat gum disease.

 

  1. Crunchy Foods

Although experts recommend avoiding most sweet foods, fruits like apples are among the exceptions.

You see, while apples are sweet, they also contain fiber and lots of water. Apples induce saliva production in the mouth as well, allowing it to wash away bacteria and food particles naturally. Plus, it has a fibrous texture that helps stimulate the gums.

Besides apples, other crunchy and fiber-filled teeth-friendly snacks include carrots and celery.

Carrots are crunchy, which means they also require more saliva to break down. They are also a great source of vitamin A for better eyesight.

On the other hand, celery is filled with water and has a fibrous texture that acts as a sort of natural toothbrush. Like apples and carrots, it induces saliva production and helps scrape food particles away from the teeth. It also contains lots of vitamins A and C, both of which are necessary for gum health.

While it may take some serious chewing before you are able to break down crunchy foods like these three, all that munching and crunching won’t be in vain since chewing is an effective cleansing mechanism that helps rid the mouth of those pesky cavity-causing bacteria.

 

Eat for Your Teeth

Your teeth are necessary for eating, but you must remember that eating the right kinds of food is also crucial for your dental health. Be picky with your food (in a good way) and stick to teeth-friendly items to boost your oral health.

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