We all know that eating certain foods can damage our teeth, but did you know that there are foods and drinks that can improve your oral health? Here are some of the top foods to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Saliva is known to be one of our best natural defenses against tooth decay. Not only does your saliva help wash away plaque and food particles, but it also contains minerals and proteins that work to neutralize acids in our mouths. Drinking water greatly aids in saliva production and accounts for 95 percent of our saliva’s composition. Even the act of drinking water in itself is beneficial because it works in a similar was to our saliva in washing away food and plaque. By drinking more water you can help your saliva levels stay high and keep your teeth in better shape.
According to a study conducted by the journal General Dentistry, eating cheddar cheese has the ability to lower the acidity level in your mouth. Our teeth are frequently exposed to acidic foods. Over time, these acids can strip down our enamels and leave our teeth vulnerable to sensitivity and decay. This Study found that the benefits of cheese were measurably more beneficial than drinking a glass of milk or eating sugar-free yogurt. Cheese is also highly beneficial for your enamel because it contains calcium, which helps refortify the enamel. In addition, chewing on a slice of cheese increases the production of saliva in your mouth helping to cleanse the mouth of some of its bacteria.
Like cheese, milk contains high levels of calcium, which is great for the maintenance of your enamel. Calcium is also beneficial because it can help protect your mouth from gum disease and keeps your jawbone in good condition. Although it is less effective than cheese, milk also helps lower acidity in the mouth and can neutralize some of the plaque bacteria that develops from eating sugary foods. Milk may be a better option than cheese if you are trying to lower your cholesterol; skim or 1% milk is still effective while having a lower fat concentration.
With all the calcium your intake from milk and cheese, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D to fully absorb its nutritional value. Fish like mackerel or Atlantic salmon are rich sources of vitamin D. For optimal nutrition, try investing in fresh wild fish rather than aqua cultured varieties as they have more nutritional value. Vitamin D makes full use of the calcium you’re ingesting and allows it to better aid in teeth and bone preservation.
Green and black teas are also great at maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Tea has proven to reduce the size and stickiness of plaque more effectively than water alone through a high concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a compound that slow the growth of bacteria and disable it from clumping together. By reducing the amount of bacteria growth in your mouth, you can help reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Like tea, cranberries are an excellent source of polyphenols, which protect your teeth by discouraging the buildup and growth of plaque. Cranberries are a great fruit option to incorporate into your diet and have numerous health benefits, however many cranberry products contain added sugar, which undermine these benefits. If you can look past the tart flavor of cranberries, and opt for options with no sugar added, this fruit can really help protect you teeth against cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
If cranberries are too bitter for your liking, strawberries are a great fruit to incorporate into your diet. Like many other citrus fruits, strawberries have high concentrations of vitamin C. Vitamin C is beneficial to your oral health because supports healthy gums, strengthens blood vessels and repairs the connective tissues in your mouth. Keeping your gums in good shape protects you from gum recession and tooth sensitivity. Vitamin C is also a known anti-inflammatory and is important for your overall health. It doesn’t take much to get you daily dose of vitamin C so be carful not to overdo it. Too much acidic fruit can wear down your enamel over time.
For more information on maintaining optimal oral health, contact us.