It’s no secret that a well-balanced diet is important for your physical health and overall well-being; but did you know that it’s just as important for your dental health? Most people know that they should avoid eating there are certain foods that can lead to tooth decay, such as candy and soda, but many aren’t aware of the fact that there are many foods that can improve their oral health. As per the American Dental Association, one of the first parts of your body that are impacted by a poor diet is your mouth.
For a healthy smile, add more of the following foods to your diet.
You probably already know that yogurt is a great source of calcium and that this nutrient is important for your teeth. But, did you know that it’s also packed with protein, another vital nutrient for oral health? Yogurt also contains probiotics, or healthy bacteria, which are highly beneficial for your teeth and gums. Why? – Because these good bacteria take over bad bacteria that cause decay. For the best results, opt for Greek yogurt, which has a higher protein content than traditional yogurt, and stick to a sugar-free variety.
Like yogurt, cheese is another great source of protein and calcium, which makes it a good food choice for your teeth. Moreover, cheese boosts the pH level in your mouth, which lowers the risk of tooth decay. Additionally, hard varieties of cheese, such as cheddar and Swiss, require a good bit of chewing, which can raise saliva levels in the mouth, and saliva contains minerals and proteins that actually shield tooth enamel, preventing tooth decay. Choose a naturally produced cheese, as processed varieties contain ingredients that can actually wear down enamel and boost the risk of decay.
Carrots are super crunchy, which means that they require a lot of chewing. As mentioned, the more you chew, the more saliva your mouth produces, and the more your tooth enamel is protected. These veggies are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, which your body needs in order to create vitamin A, an essential nutrient for strong teeth.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but this fruit can keep the dentist away (at least in regard to oral health issues.) Apples have a fiber and water content, two things that are important for your teeth. As you chew on a crunchy apple, saliva production is stimulated, which washes away the collection of food particles and bad bacteria. The fibrous texture of an apple also helps to stimulate the gums, giving your teeth a strong foundation.
Leafy greens are hailed for their strength building abilities. However, these veggies do more than just strengthen muscles and bones; they are great for your oral health, too. Leafy greens, including spinach and kale, contain tons of calcium, which strengthens tooth enamel and can keep decay at bay. They are also packed with folic acid, a form of vitamin B, which is believed to prevent and even treat gum disease.
Cold Water Fish
Cold water fish, such as salmon and tuna, are highly regarded for their health benefits. In regard to your oral health, this type of fish is loaded with vitamin D, which helps you absorb calcium so that your teeth can reap all of the benefits of the calcium you get from other types of food. Fish is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for cardiovascular and mental health.
Nuts provide so many health benefits and they’re a tasty snack, to boot. In regard to your mouth, nuts require a lot of chewing, which increases the production of saliva and neutralizes cavity-causing bacteria. Nuts are also chock-full of calcium and protein, and some varieties also contain potassium, zinc and vitamin E; all nutrients that are important for your teeth.
This probably comes as a surprise, but chocolate can actually be good for your oral health; not chocolate that’s packed with sugar, but the dark type that has no sugar added and contains at least 70% cocoa. What makes chocolate good for your teeth? It contains a compound known as CBH, which has been proven to actually harden tooth enamel. The harder your tooth enamel, the lower your chances of developing tooth decay will be. In other words, dark chocolate might actually be able to help you avoid cavities! What a pleasant surprise!
You might think that raisins would be bad for the teeth because they’re sweet and sticky; however, it turns out that dried grapes may actually be good for your oral health! Raisins contain phytochemicals that can help combat the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Also, their sweetness doesn’t come from sucrose, which has been cited as being a primary culprit of oral health issues.
Though it isn’t a food, it’s important to mention how beneficial water is for your oral health. Your saliva is made of mostly water, so when you are dehydrated, saliva production decreases and can increase the risk of tooth decay. Additionally, when you don’t drink enough water, your mouth can become excessively dry, which can lead to bad breath. Lastly, water rinses away food debris and reduce plaque buildup. While it’s not as effective as regular brushing and flossing, rinsing with water between meals can keep your teeth in great condition.
If you want your teeth to look their best and stay healthy, you have to treat them with care. Eating a well-balanced diet filled with nutritious foods and regular dental checkups will help to keep your teeth strong and your smile happy.