10 Best Foods for Your Teeth
Updated: Mar 8
The Holiday season is fast approaching which means gatherings with friends and family and lots of food. Did you know? The food you eat plays a part in maintaining teeth and gums because your teeth need several essential nutrients to stay healthy. We've previously called out some of the worst candies for your teeth. Sugary foods such as candy and soda can contribute to enamel loss and tooth decay. In this article, we'll be discussing the 10 best foods for your dental health.
You've probably heard the adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". Well, an apple also boasts benefits for your dental health. The natural sugars in apples help to neutralize harmful acids in the mouth. Acidity is one of the main contributors to enamel wear. Plus, the action of chewing stimulates saliva production which aids in washing harmful bacteria away from the teeth. Lastly, apples are high in fibre and as you chew the fibrous texture of the fruit stimulates the gum tissue to strengthen it against infection (i.e. gingivitis).
All dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are packed with protein and calcium. Cheese also contains casein, a protein, which works alongside calcium to repair and stabilize dental enamel. Furthermore, a study revealed that eating cheese raised the pH level in the subjects' mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts you at risk of tooth erosion, which is a process that wears away tooth enamel.
Yogurt is also high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. Yogurt contains probiotics, or good bacteria, which can be beneficial for your gums. Probiotics are best known for their role in digestive health, but, in the mouth, probiotics crowd out the bad bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities. If you'd rather skip eating yogurt, consider taking a probiotic supplement.
4. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens can be found of nearly every healthy food list. It's no surprise because they are full of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. Foods like kale and spinach promote oral health because they're high in calcium to support tooth enamel. These also contain folic acid which has been shown to help treat gum disease in pregnant women. The vitamin C found in leafy greens boosts the production of red blood cells and drops inflammation--this battles gum irritation and gum disease. Vitamin C also helps to maintain the integrity of the periodontal ligament (which holds your teeth in their place) by promoting collagen maturation. Finally, the fibrous texture of leafy greens scrubs your teeth as you chew.
Strawberries contain vitamin C, which helps fight gum disease and reduce inflammation. A vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding gums and loose teeth. Strawberries are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect your gums by fighting the bacteria that cause inflammation. And, as a bonus, the malic acid found in strawberries is a natural enamel whitener.
Onions are an excellent food for promoting healthy gums because they neutralize oral bacteria. Onions have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that target the most common types of bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. They also help to lower inflammation in the gums and throughout the body.
Salmon contains plenty of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for good oral health because it improves calcium absorption. Salmon is packed full of both Vitamin D and calcium, making it an all-round superfood for helping to maintain healthy teeth and gums. The main source of Vitamin D is sunlight, however when that's lacking (as in during Canadian winters), fatty fish or a supplement can help prevent a deficiency. When the body is vitamin D deficient, it can lead to dry mouth which is a precursor for dental health issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
Carrots have a wide range of health benefits including your eyes, skin, immune system, and nails. Carrots contain beta carotene, fibre, vitamins A, C, K, and B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Raw carrots act as a natural toothbrush; they stimulate the gums and remove stains and plaque. The process of chewing on carrots increases saliva production to keep teeth clean. Carrots are rich in biotin, a vitamin that helps to synthesize fat and protein metabolism, which can provide your body with stronger gums.
Water is hands down the best beverage for maintaining your oral health. Water, like saliva, helps wash sugars and acid off teeth. It also contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion and is found in toothpaste and some mouthwashes. Fluoride occurs naturally in water, and most tap water in Canada is fortified with it.
10. Sugar-free Gum
As we've mentioned above chewing boosts saliva secretion and saliva helps to clear away some bacteria from your mouth. With regular chewing gum, the bacteria in your mouth would feed on the sugar and turn it into acid. The acid then wears down dental enamel and leaves you more prone to cavities. Sugar-free gum is sweetened with xylitol which cannot be metabolized by bacteria.
Incorporating these ten foods into your diet can help to maintain your oral health during holiday festivities.
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