Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are the basics for healthy teeth but what we eat plays an important role in our oral health. We talk a lot about the foods that can be harmful to our teeth but what about the ones that help us build healthier, stronger teeth and gums? Get ready to add these seven teeth-friendly foods to your shopping list!
Okay so it’s an obvious one but water is essential to maintain a healthy mouth. If we don’t drink water we risk dehydration. When we are dehydrated our saliva thickens causing chaos in our mouth.
Our saliva is primarily made up of water. Saliva helps us breakdown food and neutralise bacteria and acid in our mouth. Rinsing our mouth with water after we eat will also help reduce plaque build-up by removing food debris from our teeth and gums and reduce any staining that may occur on the teeth.
Green and Black Tea
Not that we needed another excuse to brew a fresh pot of tea but both green and black tea contains these awesome micro-nutrients called polyphenols that suppress the nasty plaque-causing bacteria in our mouth. After we eat our mouth is full of bacteria and leftover sugars. The bacteria interacts with these sugars to create acids that destroy our tooth enamel and damage our teeth. Tea’s bacteria fighting properties make it a great choice for after meals or even during. Although its a good idea to try and limit the sugar you add to your tea.
Fruit and Vegetables
You probably guessed this one would be in our list but fruit and vegetables, especially high fibre ones, are great for the health of our mouth. Fruit and vegetables high in fibre actually scrub our teeth similar to how our toothbrush might (although we still don’t recommend trading your toothbrush for some broccoli). It also takes a little longer to chew these foods which stimulates saliva production and helps neutralise acid attacks in the mouth. Salad greens and crunchy vegetables are also a great addition to your diet as they have a high water and calcium content. The high water content helps balance out our sugar intake so it’s always good to keep some carrot, cucumber, and spinach floating about in your crisper.
We’re sure you’ve heard this before, but calcium is good for your teeth. Calcium plays an important role in strengthening your teeth and gums to help protect them from disease. Our body is all about balance and if we don’t have enough Vitamin D in our system we can’t absorb all the goodness from calcium.
This is where fish comes in. Working fatty fish such as salmon into your diet is a great way to maintain your Vitamin D levels and help your teeth capitalise on all the goodies calcium has to offer.
If you’re like us and love a good cheese board then you’re in luck! Cheese is not only a good source of calcium (which we know is good for the teeth), it also helps reduce erosion by neutralising acid attacks. Now we’re not saying you need to go and eat a whole block of cheese, but having a couple of pieces for dessert can be good for your mouth.
The Vitamin C found in citrus is great for the whole body. This vitamin helps our body strengthen blood vessels and connective tissue, but what does it mean for our teeth? With stronger blood vessels and connective tissue our body can reduce inflammation and slow down gum disease progression helping to keep our mouth that little bit healthier. Citrus is a very acidic fruit though so remember to wait half an hour before brushing your teeth.
Bet you didn’t expect this one, but dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao can actually help keep your teeth healthy.
Dark chocolate contains a compound called CBH that can help strengthen our tooth enamel and reduce our risk of tooth decay. All this goodness comes from the cocoa bean so the darker the chocolate the better it will be for you. Dark chocolate usually contains less sugar than milk or white chocolate so it’s a good alternative if you’re craving a sweet treat. So we’ve got chocolate, cheese, citrus, fish, tea, water, and high fibre fruit and vegetables – next challenge is to put them all together! Okay maybe that’s not a good idea… Let’s just stick with some advice from our Maven dentists – ‘everything is good in moderation’. A balanced diet combined with routine brushing and flossing plus regular dental visits is the best way to keep your smile healthy. If you'd like to know more about what's good and bad for your teeth, get in touch with your local Maven dentist.