Foods and Drinks with Surprising Oral Health Benefits
August 24, 2022
Wouldn't it be great if you could eat and drink your way to better oral health? You can actually impact your oral health through your diet. Many foods and beverages strengthen your teeth and gums, and wise dietary choices can make the difference between a healthy, happy smile or more frequent dentist trips.
Variety is not only the spice of life; it is the key to good oral and overall health. Nutrient-rich foods and beverages promote healthy teeth and gums and, together with good home oral hygiene routines, work to ensure teeth and gums are in tip-top shape.
It bears mentioning that while many dietary choices promote healthy teeth and gums, many also work against the goal of a healthy mouth. These include the high starch foods that can be tempting, like pasta, rice, crackers, and bread, and saliva breaks down starch into sugar shortly after eating. This sugar promotes the growth of plaque and tartar, encouraging bacterial growth. The bacteria is the building block of plaque and tartar, damaging teeth and gums. When you consume high starch foods, brush your teeth as soon as possible and, at the very least, drink a glass of water to help clear your mouth of the sugars.
So, what are some of the best foods and beverages for strong teeth and gums? Let's take a look at some of them.
Milk Cheese and Yogurt
All three of these dairy products are packed with calcium which is great for your teeth and bones. Cheese contains casein, a protein well suited to strengthen tooth enamel. Cheese is high in phosphate, which helps balance the pH levels in the mouth. Milk, like cheese, lowers acid levels making it one of the most tooth-friendly beverages besides water. Yogurt provides the benefit of probiotics that help protect against tooth decay, gum disease, and even bad breath.
Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
This is a big category, and it's easy to see why it plays such an essential role in good oral health. Celery is the closest thing to nature's dental floss, and the crunchy, fibrous texture makes it a very effective natural tooth cleaner. Apples are the fruit version of a natural toothbrush, and the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away applies to the dentist too! Carrots are full of cavity-fighting nutrients. Vitamin C, calcium, and keratins are all beneficial to oral health, and once again, we have a food that acts as a natural toothbrush. That's a win-win!
Greens are a super healthy food chock full of calcium, folic acid, and lots of vitamins and minerals that promote healthy teeth and gums. Spinach, lettuce, and kale all belong in a diet that maximizes oral and overall health!
Nuts are perfect for a tooth-friendly snack, full of essential elements like calcium and phosphorus. Almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews are incredibly beneficial; they help fight the bacteria that lead to tooth decay, in addition to their nutritional impact. Walnuts are a wonder food; they contain folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, and fiber. Peanuts are high in vitamin D and calcium. The next time you have the opportunity to enjoy some nuts, go for it, knowing you are making an excellent nutritional choice for your oral health.
Meats and Fatty Fish
Salmon is a fatty fish loaded with phosphorus, which is vital in protecting tooth enamel. Most meats contain essential nutrients, and chewing when eating meat produces saliva, which decreases acidity in the mouth. Red meat and organ meats are thought to be the most nutritionally beneficial.
Tea and Coffee
You may be surprised to see tea and coffee on this list as they are known to stain teeth. You want to brush your teeth after consuming these beverages to avoid the staining effect, but they are worth indulging in for the polyphenols they contain. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants that combat cell damage, work to reduce inflammation, and help fight cancer. Green and black teas have the highest concentration of polyphenols and many health benefits.
The above list is just a short overview to illustrate how much of a positive impact food and beverage choices can have on oral health. Proper nutrition, good home oral hygiene, and routine dental visits at Chamberlain Dental are the perfect combination to keep you smiling with excellent oral health!