By: Dr. Yvette Porter
The foods you eat and beverages you drink can give you the energy and nutrients you need to go through all your daily activities and keep you healthy. Dentists also say that everything you put in your mouth plays a major role in helping you achieve good oral health (or a poor one).
To have healthy teeth and gums, make sure your diet includes these foods and beverages:
1. Products high in Calcium
Dairy products, which include milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese, are good for your teeth because they are high in calcium. Calcium also contains hydroxyapatite – a specific type of mineral that strengthens the enamel and helps your body absorb calcium faster.
If you are not vegan or dairy-free, cheese might be one of the best types of snacks you can regularly munch on. This is because cheese contains a protein called casein which helps repair damaged enamel. Cheese also decreases pH levels in your mouth, and with less acid in the oral cavity, enamel destruction and tooth decay will be minimized.
If you are vegan or choose to go dairy free, other foods high in calcium include almonds, broccoli, kale, tofu, edamame, and navy beans.
2. Crunchy fruits and vegetables
Fruits and veggies that are crunchy and high in water content such as apples, peaches, carrots, cucumber, and celery, help keep your mouth clean and healthy. They act as natural cleaners for your teeth. They also stimulate saliva production which helps you get rid of harmful acids and bacteria.
Crunchy veggies such as bell peppers and broccoli also contain high amounts of vitamin C, reducing inflammation in your gums. As such, they help you have healthier gums and improved oral health.
3. Dark leafy vegetables
Kale, spinach, bok choy, and other types of dark leafy greens are rich in vitamins and minerals that promote oral health.
In addition to calcium, dark leafy veggies also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin which helps the cells in your oral cavity repair gum disease damage.
The best beverage you can drink regularly is water. Water is sugar- and artificial flavor-free, which means there is no chance you will get tooth decay when you drink this beverage.
It also helps keep your mouth moist, which prevents the growth and spread of harmful bacteria and acids.
5. Green and black tea
Green tea offers several benefits for your teeth and gums which include cavity prevention, improved gum health, and fresh breath.
Black tea, on the other hand, contains certain compounds that can kill or suppress the growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque.
There are some products we recommend you avoid. These include:
1. Starchy foods
Cookies, crackers, chips, and other starchy snacks can easily get stuck in between your teeth. If they are not removed completely through proper brushing and flossing, they will sit and ferment in your mouth and produce harmful acids that can dissolve tooth enamel.
2. Chewy and sticky candies and sweets
Lollipops, caramels, taffies and other sticky candies are made of sugar which can easily get stuck in holes and crevices in your teeth. They cause the growth of harmful bacteria, triggering tooth decay.
3. Citrus and acidic fruits and drinks
Citric acid and other types of strong acids are the leading cause of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Fresh orange, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits and their beverage derivatives have high acid levels.
If you consume these fruits and beverages regularly, you run the risk of breaking down your enamel and suffering from tooth decay.
4. High fructose drinks
Carbonated, sugary sports drinks and other high fructose beverages soak your teeth in destructive sugar. These large amounts of sugar feed the bad bacteria in your mouth and produce more acid. As a result, your teeth will be more vulnerable to plaque and tooth decay.
5. Alcoholic beverages
Wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks can dry out your mouth. Regular consumption of alcohol can reduce saliva so much that it can lead to significant oral problems like gum disease over time.
Red wine, in particular, can also make your teeth susceptible to staining and discoloration since it weakens your enamel.
Healthy foods and beverages are not only good for your body; they are also essential and beneficial for your teeth and gums. It is therefore important that you have a well-balanced diet. In addition, make sure you follow good oral hygiene practices and visit your dentist regularly so that you can have a healthy and beautiful smile all the time.
Featured Image: LifeHack
Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.