Most of us know the drill and are aware of proper oral hygiene. We know to brush twice daily, floss our teeth, and rinse. We recognize the importance of visiting the dentist for thorough cleanings on a regular basis. Although begrudgingly, most of us understand that eating lots of sweets and sugary candy is not the best way to keep our teeth and gums healthy. After all, mom told us that when we were kids.
But do you realize that there are actually specific foods that are good for our teeth and gums? If you want to eat foods that keep your pearly whites clean, infused with vitamins and minerals and free from cavities, let’s take a look at some top foods to eat for dental health.
When we were kids, we were told that milk was good for our teeth and bones. It still is. Loaded with Vitamin D and calcium to protect your enamel, it also acts as an acid neutralizer to prevent decay and gum disease.
If you would prefer milk with less fat, choose 1% varieties or skim milk. For those who can’t take dairy, substitute soy milk fortified with calcium.
Crispy and Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
Bite into an apple or a pear to increase saliva flow and rid your mouth of food particles. Since these types of fruits are mostly water anyway, they help dilute sugar and are beneficial all around. Because there is some acid in these fruits, it is best to brush or rinse your mouth afterward to remove any remaining acids left.
Carrots, celery, peppers, even brussels sprouts provide healthy levels of Vitamin C. Leafy green vegetables have lots of Vitamin D to absorb and help boost calcium. In fact this group of foods does double duty as they are also beneficial to your vision.
Fatty Fish like Salmon
Loaded with Vitamin D fatty fish help your body absorb the needed calcium for your teeth. That way you can get the full benefit of calcium from other foods in your diet as well.
Many people are not aware of how helpful chewing sugarless gum can be. Pop a piece in your mouth and start chewing to dislodge any leftover food particles and increase your saliva. If you are not able to brush after lunch or after certain snacks, this is a great way to keep your mouth free of bacteria and unwanted plaque.
Water, Water, and More Water
Seems simple but lots of folks still don’t understand the value of drinking water. Besides providing needed hydration for all parts of your body to function properly, it will wash away food particles and keep your saliva flowing.
Choose water over any other type of drink. It is a better choice than any carbonated soda, regardless whether it has sugar or not. It is better than certain fruit juices, and of course better than a sugary energy drink.
Here is a great way to keep your gums healthy and enjoy some sweet desserts too. Strawberries have Vitamin C and help keep gums free from inflammations and periodontal disease. Just remember to floss afterward to remove any seeds or left over particles.
Enjoy a healthy snack food fortified with lots of vitamins and nutrients good for your teeth, your enamel and your gums. The crunchy chewing helps remove some of the plaque causing bacteria. In addition peanuts provide calcium and Vitamin D. Almonds have calcium, and cashews stimulate your saliva and help clean your teeth as you chew. Walnuts have iron, Vitamin E and other nutrients like folic acid which helps to prevent gum disease.
For those cheese lovers out there, behold the benefits of sharp cheddar, parmesan and other hard cheeses. They are low in sugar and acid too, but high in calcium. Cheese neutralizes acid and bacteria and the chewing stimulates saliva production. They have a protein also found in milk which helps fortify your tooth enamel.
It’s all good, just be careful when putting too many crackers with your cheese. They stick to your teeth and can promote unwanted plaque.
Other beneficial foods include:
- Chicken and meats
- Egg yolks
- Red peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh cranberries
Fight bacteria and inflammations and protect your teeth and gums. Make it a point to regularly eat foods which promote good dental health. Then you can teach mom a thing or two.
Contact Dr. Beatrice Leung with any questions or to schedule an appointment.