We all know the basics of healthy eating: eat plenty of fruits and veggies, drink plenty of fluids, and go easy on the processed sugars and carbohydrates.
Did you know that some of the healthiest foods for your body are also the healthiest for your teeth?
Tooth decay is caused when bacteria feed on the sugars in your mouth, secreting acid as an after-
Here is a list of ten foods that are healthy
, not only for your muscles, bones, and immune system, but for your teeth and gums as well.
- Nuts: Protein-rich foods like nuts provide important nutrients for overall health as well as tooth health, and are often a good source of calcium.
- Cheese: All cheese contains calcium, which helps strengthen teeth and bones. It also lowers acid levels in the mouth. Cheese also contains the protein casein, which helps strengthen teeth.
- Milk: Milk is full of calcium, and also lowers the acid levels in mouth. Steer clear of flavored milks, though, since they contain added sugar. Almond, rice, and soy milk are also great. The plain flavors will be best for your teeth, though the sweetened varieties will be tastier.
- Yogurt: Like cheese, yogurt contains the casein protein. Yogurt also contains calcium and phosphates that can help re-mineralize weak spots in tooth enamel. If plain yogurt is not appetizing to you, sweeten it with a bit of sugar – or a sugar substitute, which the bacteria won’t find quite as appetizing.
- Crunchy fruits and veggies: Fruits and veggies such as apples, pears, carrots, and cucumbers help stimulate saliva production to wash away bacteria and dilute acid in the mouth. They also contain plenty of vitamins. Even sugary fruits like apples and pears are great, because the saliva produced by chewing them helps to reduce the effects of the sugar they contain.
- Strawberries: Strawberries contain malic acid, which is a natural enamel whitener. They’re also jam-packed with vitamin C, which strengthens gum tissues as well as your immune system. Remember to floss, because tiny strawberry seeds can get stuck in and between your teeth.
- Citruses: Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are a tricky food for teeth. While too much citrus acid is bad for teeth, the vitamin C will do wonders for your health. Steer clear of juices sweetened with extra sugar, though, and if you’re having a citrus-heavy snack or meal, be sure to balance it with acid-reducing foods as well.
- Leafy greens: Green veggies like romaine lettuce, spinach, and celery contain vitamins that will help keep teeth strong. Also, high fiber foods require a lot of chewing, which generates saliva to wash out the mouth. Celery is a good choice because the tough fibers will scrub the teeth, too.
- Sugar-free gum: Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which dilutes acids in the mouth. Most sugar-free gums are sweetened with xylitol, which prevents bacteria from creating acid in the mouth. Also, minty-fresh breath is always in fashion. If you’re curious about which gum is best for your teeth, Port Moody dentists, and dentists everywhere, can recommend some brands for you to try.
- Water: Because saliva is so crucial to keeping acids in the mouth diluted, it’s important to stay hydrated. If you find yourself unable to brush your teeth after a meal or snack, swish some water around in your mouth to clear out the food residue – this is especially crucial after eating acidic fruits like oranges and strawberries.
Of course, any of the above foods can be combined for a delicious, healthy meal or snack. Try apple slices with cubes of sharp cheddar cheese, or a salad of spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots with your choice of dressing.
If you’re looking for tooth-friendly snacks, here’s a good rule of thumb: if it’s good for the rest of you, it’s probably good for your teeth. As long as you remember to brush and floss, your smile will stay beautiful – and your insides will be happier, too!
About the Author
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew enjoys learning about that range from clinics such as Coquitlam Centre Dental.