16 Best Food for Your Oral Health
Everyone knows proper nutrition is the key to good overall health. But did you know that diet plays a crucial role in your oral health?
Daily brushing and flossing are great, but if your diet is full of sugars and processed foods, you may be doing more harm than good to your teeth. A poor diet can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Sugars and acids in foods can increase the levels of bacteria in your mouth and erode tooth enamel.
However, there are plenty of foods that can contribute to healthy teeth and good oral health once you reduce your sugar and acid intake. The great news is that these foods are healthy and delicious. Let’s look at 15 of the best foods for your teeth.
Yogurt has probiotics that can help balance the bacteria in your mouth. This protects against gum disease and bad breath. Yogurt is also rich in calcium to help build strong enamel.
Cheese and milk are another excellent choice for calcium to keep your teeth strong. Cheddar cheese has also been proven to lower the acid levels in the mouth considerably. Reducing acid helps protect against cavities and tooth enamel erosion.
Crunchy foods like apples can help scrub your teeth and get rid of plaque between meals when you don’t have a chance to brush. Apples are also high in fiber and water content, which stimulates saliva production and rinses your mouth as you chew.
Polyphenols in black and green teas slow the growth of bacteria in the mouth. It helps keep gums healthy and breath fresh. You can even reduce plaque buildup on your teeth by rinsing with unsweetened black tea throughout the day. Drink it unsweetened, though, because sugars can ruin the benefits of tea.
Another crunchy food, carrots are also rich in Vitamin A which is good for enamel. This is another food that stimulates saliva production and neutralizes bacteria. Raw baby carrots make a great healthy snack.
Celery deserves its special category because it’s the closest thing we have to nature’s toothbrush. Crunchy and full of water, celery is great for oral health. It’s also full of vitamins A and C, two powerful antioxidants.
If you drink bottled water, make sure you stick with brands that are not acidic. A neutral pH in your water will ensure your enamel stays strong and healthy. Water helps wash out your mouth and boost saliva production.
8) Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as kale and spinach — and even beet and dandelion greens — are full of vitamins and minerals while being low-calorie. They contain calcium to build enamel and are full of B vitamins. Add greens to your salads and sandwiches for easy incorporation into your diet.
Fatty fishes like salmon and tuna are packed with nutrition. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can support good oral health.
Nuts like almonds and cashews are good for your mouth because they contain calcium and protein. Their low sugar content means you can boost these nutrients without canceling their benefits. Almonds can also help fight bacteria in your mouth.
11) Sugarless Gum
Saliva production is crucial to your oral health. Chewing sugarless gum helps stimulate saliva and rinse your mouth clean.
Strawberries are high in vitamin C and malic acid, which could play a role in whitening your teeth naturally. Most other berries are also rich in antioxidants to boost your overall health.
13) Whole Grains
A diet rich in whole grains can help lower the risk of gum disease. Look for grains like whole oats, brown rice, and quinoa to give your diet a boost.
14) Shiitake Mushrooms
It sounds weird, but shiitake mushrooms are good for your teeth. They contain a natural sugar called lentinan which can disrupt the formation of plaque.
15) The Onion Family
Onions, garlic, shallots, and the like are great for your oral health. Raw onions and garlic have powerful antibiotic properties that can keep your gums healthy. Garlic also contains allicin, a strong antimicrobial agent that can help protect against periodontal disease.
Cranberries get their special mention because their nutrient content is a little different than most other berries. They contain the same polyphenols found in tea, which keeps plaque from sticking to teeth and therefore lowers the risk of cavities. Remember to eat them fresh or dry them yourself, though. Store bought dried cranberries can be full of added sugar.
Remember the Basics
Your teeth are important. Brushing, flossing, rinsing, and cleaning your tongue will only get you so far if your diet doesn’t support good oral health. Look for ways to improve your diet with the foods on this list, and you’ll be well on your way to a happy mouth.