You know that what you eat makes a big difference in the health of your body. So why wouldn’t it make a difference in the health of your mouth? Brushing and flossing are important, as is visiting the dentist regularly. But if you want to keep your teeth and gums in great shape, it’s also a great idea to take a second look at what you’re eating.
Drop the bad stuff and try to incorporate more dental health superfoods into your diet. Your smile will be healthier, your body will be healthier, and you will feel great. Oh, and these foods are delicious, too!
To book an appointment at Texas Grins Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, call our Willow Park, TX office at 817-779-7111.
Raw Fruits and Vegetables Keep the Mouth Clean
When you’re jonesing for a snack, skip the chips and pretzels and pick up an apple or a handful of carrot sticks. Raw, crunchy fruits and veggies (even ones that contain sugar!) are excellent for your oral health in a number of ways. The act of chewing them stimulates your saliva glands. Saliva is your body’s way of keeping your mouth clean. It rinses away food particles and acid-producing bacteria. These natural treats are high in fiber and loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are also low in calories, so you can eat them without worrying about packing on pounds. To jazz up your raw veggies (and add a dose of tooth-boosting dairy), make a yogurt-based dipping sauce.
Dairy Strengthens Teeth
Calcium is a mineral that is stored in your teeth and bones and is a key component in keeping them strong. Dairy products — milk, yogurt, cheese — are excellent sources for tooth-fortifying calcium. Dairy also contains caseins, proteins that help teeth by bonding together and forming a coating that protects the enamel from destructive acids.
Cheese and yogurt get are especially good for dental health. Cheese has been found to increase the pH balance of the mouth, which reduces your risk of tooth decay. (This may be due to its ability to stimulate saliva production.) Yogurt contains “good” bacteria called probiotics, which appear to reduce the amount of decay-causing “bad” bacteria.
Load Up on the Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chard . . . so many delicious leafy green vegetables to fall in love with. And these are amazingly healthy for your body and your dental health. Leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of calcium, essential for maintaining your teeth’s structure and strength. They also contain folic acid, which has been shown to protect gums against periodontal disease.
Leafy green vegetables are versatile and easy to prepare. Use them in salads, add to soups, or saute with garlic for a quick side dish.
Chomp on Nuts
Nuts of all varieties — walnuts, almonds, cashews — help keep your teeth healthy. The act of chewing them stimulates saliva production, which washes away nasty bacteria and food particles. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for your mouth and good for your overall health.
Nuts are low in sugar, but high in healthful omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Nuts make a delicious and filling snack, and their crunchy texture makes them an excellent addition to salads.
Chocolate for Dessert
Wait, what? Yes, we said it: chocolate. Dark chocolate in particular is believed to be beneficial to your teeth, even if it does contain some sugar. (We can’t say the same for milk chocolate, which contains much higher amounts of sugar.)
Studies have shown that a compound in chocolate may be more effective than fluoride in fighting tooth decay.
Chocolate also contains polyphenols and tannins, which have antibacterial properties and may help protect teeth from cavities and gums from periodontal disease.
Just practice moderation, and remember to stick to dark chocolate that contains less than 6 to 8 grams of sugar per serving.
Wash It All Down with Water
Pass up the soda, juice, and sports drinks. The hands-down best beverage for your teeth and gums is plain old H2O. Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, but it rinses away damaging bacteria and food particles, keeping your mouth nice and clean between meals.
Most municipal water supplies are fortified with enamel-strengthening fluoride, making tap water the best choice of all. If you don’t already have one, invest in a reusable bottle so you can carry your tap water on the go.